Sometimes it’s hard to imagine it’s been 5 years since that ungodly day you left us.  Suddenly without a hint of what’s next to come, you were gone.   Now after 28 years of marriage, I realize on this anniversary weekend what you left behind.  I’ve been grasping in my mind, what’s left for me to hold onto?  What does the next weather pattern bring? Does life bring more storms, sunny days, partially cloudy, ice, rain, or winter storms?

It’s easy for me to compare my life to the weather.  Some days I wake up, and it’s sunny and bright.  On those days, I’m supposed to be just like the weather- sunny and bright. Or not.  Other days when it’s cloudy with dark ominous rain forecast, it’s easy to be sad, sullen and depressed.  In fact it’s almost expected, or not.

Truth is, I’ve never been a person to let the outside weather conditions dictate my inside temperaments.  Before you left me, I used to enjoy all days- sunny, cloudy, rainy, stormy even winter weather, the kind that locked me into my house, with just a warm cup of herbal tea, a good book and long, fulfilling naps.  Naps that I woke up refreshed, and ready to start the next part of the day.  Boy I remember those naps and relish those days.

Since you’ve been gone- every day seems to be met with a storm. Some internal, some external, some storms in my mind, others brewing in my heart.  Days start off nondescript, only to end up in a dark, silent storm.  My secret storm, the one people around me don’t know I’m having.  People so busy with their own lives, they don’t know (or care) I’m hurting, grieving, crying inside my own private storm of life.  Most of the times people don’t realize I’m hurting because I move about my day, sometimes even smiling and responding pleasantly to the day I’m trapped in.  But they don’t realize that deep in the midst of my daily prayers and smiles, I’m waddling in the depth of my sorrow and secret storm.  It’s called widow’s grief.

Thunder looming, dark ominous clouds swelling the air, only to bring tears of pain and memories of what you left behind.  Daily mourning, even whaling, while wondering can people even tell my heart is hurting and missing the life I once lived?  Do they even understand the life I once had is a shell of what is?  Even my own mind asks, “Why Lord?”   Why am I left to navigate this storm of life, representing a world dry and barren?  Dry, parched land, intermixed with constant turbulence, is my reality, after you’re gone.

Fall memories

Little things I used to do are memories.  Like purchasing fall colorful mums at garden centers. Then taking out these plants and turning the soil to prepare for another season of garden slendor, no longer bring me any joy.  No freshly cut flowers grace my table anymore.  No bright beautiful flowers thrive in gardens.  Now in that once used space, is dry land. Land that’s barren because the fruitfulness of my hand has dried up.   No fruit can grow right now.  No prosperous feeling of light, hope and brightness.  Just dry, dry land of lost hopes and dreams.

I feel his absence almost daily, now that I no longer have it.  The left behind isolated, self-contained events which bear no resemblance to the former life I lived.  With each passing anniversary, I’m reminded of the emptiness and unbearable silence draping my world- after you left.

Positive expectations suddenly departed when you left me.  No new dreams of beginnings, hope, sunshine and flowers.  Now I’m just holding on to life while being tossed and turned in the quiet storms. Storms that flood my life and heart, causing me to almost drown.

I’m left with a life in the storm- in the midst of my anniversary.


Ajai Blue-Saunders is a servant leader and works for a nonprofit in the Richmond VA area. She is always seeking ways to encourage and serve others, even while experiencing the sudden death of her husband in 2015. Her work experience includes project development, herbalist, management, supervision and overseeing several companies and nonprofits.

Ajai has a heart for the disability community and serves on many local and national boards. She currently is solo parenting an artistic adult daughter with disabilitiies and together they are navigating this life with faith and love. She currently runs a widow's support group that meets monthly sponsored by a local funeral home which provides a safe place for widows to experience their grief journey with love and compassion.