It’s December. Three sleeps until Christmas. The joy of the season sits upon my heart, but with a depth of sorrow that I didn’t think I would experience so soon in my life. My husband, Mark, passed way in early November after three years of marriage. A time that I will never regret. He was one of the best people to ever walk into my life, and I am ever grateful to God that He brought us together.
As I have shared in previous posts, Mark’s health challenges were a big part of both our lives. And in the end, due to his Chronic Kidney Disease, renal failure and other complications, his battle to stay alive on this side of Heaven ended. He went home to be with God on the 5th of November and in the intervening weeks I’ve had to navigate the aftermath. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the word. However, I have the wonderful support of family, friends and even my work colleagues in this season. They’ve walked with Mark and me in this journey since we first met in November 2014. And I know they will continue to do so by my side into the future.
My time with Mark wasn’t long enough. But, I treasure every single moment. Even the challenging moments this year from when Mark got the call for a transplant in June to the days before he passed away. There were times when we both would have loved to just pack it in, to give up. However, we clung to our faith in God, praying for breakthrough, for miracles. But, ultimately the healing that we both prayed for, and others did as well, did not come in the way we wanted or expected. For, I truly believe that Mark is now in Heaven with Jesus, hale and whole with a new body – the lucky sod – praising our amazing God. Our prayers aren’t always answered on this side of life after all. And, I believe that I will one day see Mark again. Many years from now, of course.
Now is the time to reflect on the year that was, the highs and lows. In the first half of the year, Mark and I spent time with friends and family, we also enjoyed date nights/afternoons, going to the movies or enjoying meals together – Wok in a Box was a favourite, the simple things, eh? And, Mark’s health was much improved from 2017, so that was something to celebrate in the first half of the year. That was why he was even able to have a transplant in the first place…
Then the second half of the year, though it was laden with anxiety and grief, was punctuated by small moments of light. Friends’ long missed were caught up with, relationships were strengthened – at church, with extended family, at work and with friends, I saw a few more good movies, anticipated new music – shared said new music with Mark whilst he was in hospital – and continued my work with the children at my centre. I also managed to read 39 books, which I will share about in a later post.
Now, as I sit here so close to the end of 2018, I ponder my future without Mark. Next year I plan on undertaking my Master’s in Teaching, and probably moving closer to my parents. Not in that order. We plan on celebrating Mark’s life on his birthday and I know that the anniversary of our wedding will be another day where I think of him deeply and it will probably hurt a lot. But, I pray that 2019 will be a better year.
2019?! Gosh, that came up fast. Anyway, to lighten the mood and to end this post, here are my 2018 Best Ofs.
NB: Any music/films mentioned here may have been released in prior years, but this is based on whether I newly discovered them this year, or they have had a big impact on me this year.
Book of the Year: The Fox Hunt – Mohammed Al Samawi/The Thief – JR Ward
Album of the Year: Only Jesus – Casting Crowns
Christian Artist of the Year: Casting Crowns
Artist of the Year: Backstreet Boys
Video of the Year: Chances – Backstreet Boys
Worship/Christian Album of the Year: Holy Roar – Chris Tomlin/The Elements – TobyMac
Worship song of the year: Living Hope – Phil Wickham
Christian Song of the Year: Head Above Water – Avril Lavigne
Christmas Song of the Year: Light of the Stable – Selah
Most Anticipated Release: New Backstreet Boys Music
Live music moment of the year: Steve Grace at QBC
Movie of the year: Avengers: Infinity War
Sporting Moment: Collingwood getting into the Grand Final against West Coast.
Milestones: 30 years in Australia as an adoptee.
Memorable hashtags: #neverforgetMarkWithey #30yearsanadoptee
Personal Moments: Becoming a widow; my husband went home to be with God.
And here is my Top 25 songs of 2018
Head Above Water – Avril Lavigne
Only Jesus – Casting Crowns
I Can Only Imagine (Movie Session) – MercyMe
Nailed to the Cross – Rend Collective
Living Hope – Phil Wickham
Wake Up (Live) – Graham Kendrick
Nobody Loves Me Like You – Chris Tomlin
You Say – Lauren Daigle
Parachute – Hawk Nelson
Good Hands – Finding Faith
Burn The Ships – for KING & COUNTRY
In the Hands of the Potter – Casting Crowns
See The Light – TobyMac
Impact – Chris Tomlin
Rewrite The Stars – The Piano Guys
Legends Never Die – League of Legends
Not For Me – Backstreet Boys
Chances – Backstreet Boys
Actual Pain – Good Charlotte
What’s It All For? – Evaride
Ally – We The Kings
High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco
Something to Believe – Hollywood Undead
Before I Go – Guy Sebastian
Richest Man in the World – Paul Morrison
Baby Shark – Pinkfong