* Warning..this is a difficult topic and not one for the faint of heart. I’m going to share openly about the life changing incident on December 26, when Craig passed to glory. *
I’ve never liked expiration dates on my food. They seem to creep up on me and I so dislike throwing great food out just because I didn’t have time to finish it! This happens to me sometimes with my Greek yogurt , half-n-half or sour cream and it just feels like such a waste of goodness!
Someone told me recently that it’s kinda like we all have an expiration date on our forehead. “We are walking around with an invisible date on our forehead.” Imagine that. We are walking around with a “use by” date on our earthly body, that says when we will take our last breath, give up our body and then our soul will meet our Maker.
Psalms 139:16 says
You saw me before I was born.
Everyday of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
After reading that verse recently, I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “My days, Craig’s days were known to God. Nothing I did could have changed that. “ Even though we don’t know that day, God does.
A normal part of grief is looking back and thinking “if only I had” or “If only I hadn’t” or “What if I had…” Boy, I could go there and hang out for a while (and believe me, I have.) thinking, “ What signs did I miss of his heart disease?” “How could I have not known?” “If only I had cooked him healthier meals or….not made so many chocolate chip cookies?” etc, etc. But going back there brings me no peace. I’m not saying you shouldn’t look into the cause of death. I have called his doctor who went through all of his labs, a recent check up, an EKG a year prior…and there were no signs. No warning signs….
Finding Craig face down in the snow…all alone…at the top of a pristine white mountain in Lake Tahoe…no trees or people in sight, was so surreal. I literally thought at first that he was goofing around with me, since he was such a big tease and had just passed me on his snowboard moments before. I have relived that moment and the ones that followed…doing CPR on the love of my life. Then watching helpless as medical personnel arrived and took over, calling out to Craig over and over not to leave me. And crying out “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, save my husband please!” as I heard the Air Evac helicopter arriving in the distance.
Where was God in all of this?
He was right there with me. He sent the first skiers down the hill, who stopped and asked, “Do you need help?” In God’s providence and mercy, it was a Professor of EMT who teaches others at Merced College and his buddy who was a retired Fire Fighter. Those two men were angels with skin on. They immediately got to work, calling Ski Patrol, checking vitals, asking questions and then starting life saving measures. Not only did they help me with CPR, but they comforted me and skied down the hill with me after Craig was taken away. They would not leave my side and kept saying, “Stay positive. Think positive.” as I saw the helicopter lift up in the distance. I replied in exasperation, “I believe in Jesus!” (I knew that positive thoughts just weren’t going to do anything for us right then!)
The two men came down to the conference room as I was given the unbelievable, life changing news, that Craig was not in the helicopter, but had been pronounced dead by the Air Evac medical team. First Alec and I heard the news and held each other sobbing. Then Cameron came in, carrying Craig’s snowboard, and I told him the news… And finally Karimy was located, brought to the room and collapsed in grief as she learned her daddy was gone. Still the men stayed. They wrote out witness statements for the ski resort. I gathered the kids in a prayer huddle and asked Cameron to pray for us…the men joined us in prayer. Then they talked to Cameron (our lifeguard son with medical training), answered his questions and gave Cameron and me their contact info, offering to be there for us if we needed anything in the future. I told them they were my angels and thanked them over and over.
Looking back I can see God’s hand on that situation. God didn’t want me or Cameron to have any self-doubt or guilt about not being able to save Craig’s life. Anyone could have come up on the scene first, but God because of His great love for us, sent me two highly trained emergency medical responders…quickly too…within seconds of me finding him.
I will trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. Psalm 13:5
I KNOW that God heard my cry and could have restarted my husband’s heart…nothing is impossible for Him. But He didn’t. I don’t know why. There was still so much goodness left in him and potential for changing lives for His kingdom…books started but not yet finished, speaking engagements that he had committed to, a vibrant family ministry team at Venture Church, to say nothing of all our family plans together. From our limited sight, it could seem like him dying at just 53 was a giant waste of goodness….
But what I do know is that God was watching out for me and the kids at that time. And He knew that day was coming. He has been there for me in the past and He will be there for me today and tomorrow and all the days ahead of that. I am thankful it happened when it did. His heart attack could have happened at a much worse time…on the way up the mountain when Craig was driving, when Craig was onstage at Church just 2 days prior for the Christmas services or even at a time when he was alone working at a Starbucks. I am so glad God allowed me to spend his last moments on earth together. I can choose to keep my eyes on Him and see His goodness, His providence, and His love OR I can wallow in regret, false guilt and pain. I know Craig would not want me to do that. He was all about believing better. I believe God looked out for me and there was nothing I could have done to change Craig’s “expiration date.” And for that matter, I can’t change my expiration date. I have this one life to live out for His glory, no matter what comes my way.
All I can do is lean in, look up and TRUST God that He will continue to provide for all my needs. My life verse says it all.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
in all your ways, acknowledge Him
and He will direct your path.
This song speaks to me in my grief. I recently learned that Lauren Daigle wrote it when she was grieving.