I’ll never forget that day – Friday December 9, 1988. I had flown into San Diego, California the night before, and was there to film an inspirational TV show that would air in the spring. Somewhere in that audience – though I knew it not – was an angel and my wife to be. After the show, the host announced if twelve people would come back to the studio and give a short twenty second testimonial, each would be given a free copy of my best-selling book. In addition, I would stop by and personally autograph their book as well. About two hundred people stood up and Cathy was one of the twelve chosen.
When I got to the studio, eleven people had finished their testimonial and were waiting for me to sign their book, which I did. Cathy was still rehearsing. As I watched her do her thing I was astonished by her beauty and bubbly personality – and I was in love. I had not dated since the plane crash, and divorce from my first wife, but I just knew! I can’t explain it, but I knew that this was the woman God had chosen for me and I believed that He had arranged a totally unexplainable set of circumstances for me to be there at that exact time.
When she exited the recording room, I asked for her name. “Cathy,” she replied. “Are you married?” I asked. She said she wasn’t. “You want to get married?” I asked. “Are you rich?” she replied, and we both laughed. But she gave me her business card and asked me a to give her a call when I could find the time. The next morning, I flew back home to Virginia Beach, Virginia. The very first thing I did was call a florist and send her a dozen red roses. Then right before closing time I called her. We spoke only for a few minutes, and I asked “How would you like to come to Virginia Beach and spend Thanksgiving with me? “I don’t even know you,” she said. But that night she told her mother she was coming to see me. Her mother went ballistic! “Don’t dare go! That man might be a serial killer!” But she decided to come – and so began the greatest chapter in my life.
I had a courier service deliver first class tickets to Cathy and booked the entire top floor of the finest hotel right on the beach with a beautiful balcony view of the Atlantic Ocean. It was spectacular! I filled the entire floor with roses and rose petals. As Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce said, “When you go after the love of your life, you don’t count horses”. And I was not about to count dollars. We spent a week together and fell in love. Cathy returned home and told her mother, “I’m going to marry that man.” A week later I invited her to a ten thousand acre ranch in Texas that we would later become partners on. And there I proposed.
Cathy and I lived a beautiful life for twenty-two years. We traveled almost everywhere in the world and had more money than we could spend. We gave a lot to help others and spread the Gospel of Christ. We had everything money could buy but were not in love with money. We were living in a beautiful dream world. But life sometimes throws you a surprise, a curve ball you swing at and miss. And ours came in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis. We prayed and put it in God’s hands – and thought we were winning the battle until right at the end. Cathy, because of being pressured by her family, decided to return to San Diego and go to a Cancer Treatment Center. I begged her not to go, but she was scared and confused. She only lasted two months after that. I was holding her hand when she died. “I should have listened to you” she said.
After the funeral I returned home, put on my pajamas, and crawled into bed. I would get up at 11 A.M., feed my dog and take him out, watch The Price Is Right, and go back to bed. I would get up again at 8 P.M., have a bite to eat, feed my dog, take him out and crawl back in bed. I stayed in bed 22 hours a day severely depressed. This went on for eight long, tough, tear-filled years until God said enough, and restored me as only He can.
I’m a happy man now, and am filled with the Holy Spirit. Only God knows if I will ever marry again. It would have to someone real special. But perhaps I can help others grieving and going through a terrible loss. Here are some suggestions that might help you. You can check out the link Dealing With Grief for more insight on this most important subject.
#1: TAKE AS LONG AS YOU WANT TO GRIEVE. THERE IS NO RIGHT
AMOUNT OF TIME. EVERONE AND EVERY LOSS IS DIFFERENT.
#2: KNOW IT’S ALRIGHT TO BE MAD AT AND ANGRY WITH GOD. HE
UNDERSTANDS AND DOESN’T CONDEMN YOU FOR IT.
#3: IN ROMANS IT SAYS “THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR
GOOD FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND ARE CALLED
ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.” THIS IS ONE WE JUST HAVE
ACCEPT ON FAITH. I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT AND NEVER WILL
HERE ON EARTH. BUT I DO KNOW THIS – GOD CAN’T LIE.
#4: KNOW THAT THINGS WILL GET BETTER WITH TIME. WHETHER
IT’S 8 MONTHS OR 8 YEARS LIKE ME. YOUR BURDEN WILL
BECOME LIGHTER. NOT VANISHED BUT LIGHTER.
#5: IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN AND YOUR LOVED ONE WAS, THEN
KNOW – BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT – THEY ARE AT PEACE
NOW, WITH NO PAIN OR SUFFERING. AND KNOW YOU WILL SEE
#6: KNOW THAT YOUR LOVED ONE DOESN’T WANT YOU SAD
FOREVER BUT WANTS YOU TO GO ON LIVING AND TO BE
#7: FIND SOMEONE – A MINISTER OR CHERISHED FRIEND – WHO
WILL JUST LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGING OR CONDEMING YOU.
SOMEONE WHO WILL SHOW YOU EMPATHY NOT SYMPATHY.
SOMEONE WHO WILL LET TOU GET A LOAD OFF YOUR HEART
#8: REPLAY IN YOUR MIND THE GOOD MEMORIES AND GRADUALLY
DELETE THE BAD ONES.
#9: DON’T KEEP A CLOSET FULL OF CLOTHES THEY WORE. DONATE
THEM TO GOODWILL, A CHARITY, OR THE CHURCH. IN EX-
TREME CASES IT MAY INVOLVE MOVING INTO A NEW HOUSE OR
#10: CONTINUE TO PRAY AND ASK GOD FOR PEACE THAT ONLY HE
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