Milestone to my home town


Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

No, not foreign words, but perhaps words which those who have lost family members or close friends are familiar with.

Milestone to my home townI have just passed the milestone for the first anniversary of my husband’s death. A friend recently passed the first annual milestone of the death of her son, and another friend passed her second annual milestone.

In this last year, all the ‘firsts’ were accomplished.

There have been some helpful books given, or recommended, and a great deal of helpful ‘hints’ from other widows. But nothing stops those ‘coulda’, ‘wouda’, ‘shoulda’ moments from sneraking in. I guess the bottom line is how long they are allowed to stay, or how a person chooses to ‘handle’ them.

One example…

Someone told me that she climbed into the hospital bed and lay beside her husband as he prepared to exit his life.

coulda, shouldaUp jumped ‘coulda’ and ‘shoulda’.

I entertained them for a while. It had been so long since Geoff and I had even hugged because it constricted his chest too much. I kissed him on his head usually. The truth entered. My husband had been fighting to breathe for weeks by then. If I had laid beside him, or tried to hold him, it would have made him worse, not better.

Sometimes it is harder than others to deal with those three ‘siren’siren clip artenchantresses trying to draw the vulnerable griever deeper into sadness and regret. A dear friend told me from the start not to entertain those feelings… but they sneak in.


As with everything in life, a choice has to be made. Choose to follow those ‘sirens’, or choose to accept that there is no point in heading down that road.

Sometimes we say that we did not choose. Sadly, that is a choice too. We choose NOT to choose.

I remember the character Arwen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, saying to Aragorn… “I choose a mortal life…”

The Bible urges us to ‘Choose life’

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Deuteronomy 30: 15, 19

I choose to believe that while my husband’s journey is over, and that he is asleep, awaiting his resurrection. I am aware that that this belief is disputed by many, but I choose to believe the Bible evidence. A short example…

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [those who had died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Before continuing with this passage, we need to address two matters: How is death similar to sleep? And second, if God is bringing these people “with Him,” from where is He bringing them?

Death is similar to sleep in that no conscious thought occurs when one has died. Two statements in the book of Ecclesiastes tell us of this reality:

  • “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

  • “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (verse 10).

Psalm 146:4 adds: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (King James Version). Once death occurs, human consciousness ends. Nothing’s going on in the mind.

There are other verses, and the site I copied this from seems to give a clear explanation.

However, it all goes back to choice.

Until my journey is over, I pray that I will make ‘right’ choices, refuse the things I cannot change, and work on helping where I can to make the journey of others a little more pleasant.

smile icon


Just smile at someone as you pass them in the street. It might be the only smile they see that day.





4 thoughts on “Choices

  1. Patty B

    Susan this was a great article. When the first anniverary of Tom’s passing came I breathed a sigh of relief thinking it would be easy from here on out…of coarse I was wrong – my “heart pain” is still so real but, although I still grieve God sent His Son to comfort me and give me strength so that I was ready to face year #2. This is my second holiday season without Tom and this year there are still tears but my inner joy has returned – God is still wiping away my tears!
    My shoulda, coulda woulda has been if only I stopped what I was doing to go in the other room to watch one of our favorite shows, I just had to finish what I was doing then I was going in. Would those few minutes have mattered? I will never know for sure, although I am certain it would not have. The dr said Tom was gone within seconds. But that shoulda, coulda, woulda will remain with me all my life. God bless you and continue to comfort, heal and strengthen you with His Word and His Presence.

    • Hold the Faith

      Thank you Patty.
      I have many of those coulda, woulda, shoulda reflections. Eventually, I realise that it is something I cannot change. But, as you say, the sadness remains.
      This morning I was praying for all those who mourn, and especially for those who keep this season. (My difficult time was the festival that we keep, and my trip to join with brethren in the US, alone this time.)
      December is NOT a pleasant month for my family. First, there was son Peter on 23rd, now Geoff on 12th. All those carols only remind me that an anniversary is due.
      My faith is my comfort. When I documented Geoff’s last year, I could see so clearly how many blessings God gave us. These things I hold dear.

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