Heaven on my Mind

What’s on your mind today?

I’ve got heaven on my mind.

Today marks the twentieth year since my husband’s death. The “new normal” that began on this day in 1991 is now, more or less, “business as usual.”   I was surprised by the pocket of grief that I tapped when I entered my Facebook status this morning: “20 years ago, my husband left this world. Looking forward to a warm reunion.” I included a link to “Far Side of Jordan,” sung by Johnny & June Cash.

It’s happened before. Grief can hit when I least expect it.

In 1999 I went to see the movie “Message in a Bottle,” based on the book by the same name. I had a general understanding of the storyline: grieving husband finds new love after the death of his young wife. Kevin Costner (easy on the eyes) was in the lead role.  Robin Wright Penn played the woman who helped him let go of the past.

By this time in life, I was hoping to find love again myself. I vicariously enjoyed watching this new love blossom…until Nicholas Sparks, the author of the book, killed off Costner’s character.

Whatever happened to “and they lived happily ever after”? Indeed, what happened to my “happily ever after”? Not everyone gets a fairy-tale ending in this life.

My reaction to the movie ending caught me completely off guard. A tsunami of fresh grief swept over me. I left the theater, drove home and collapsed on the couch. I cried gut-wrenching sobs for a half-hour. I dug out my husband’s wedding ring and wore it to bed that night.

My grief seems much more manageable today. I’ve learned not to suppress it. The tears came several times this morning – and I let them. I took a break from my writing project and sat outside to regroup. It was a beautiful August morning. Birds flitted back and forth. I put sunflower seeds on the porch for the chipmunks. I did a little therapeutic weed-pulling in my flower garden. I spoke with my daughter on the phone. After a simple lunch, I was ready to get back on with the day. As quickly as it came, my grief subsided.

Recently I read the best seller, Heaven is For Real. It pumped my longing for heaven up to a new level. I am content to be earth-bound for the time being, but I look forward with great anticipation to my reunion with Jon and other loved ones.

I have a good life. I am enjoying retirement. I plan to be around for years to come. But just for today – I have heaven on my mind.

How about you? Have you thought of heaven lately? Who do you look forward to seeing there?



  1. Michelle Struczewski
    Aug 4, 2011

    My father, I hope!

  2. Pamela overly
    Aug 5, 2011

    What a beautiful thought for the day! In reading this, I was reminded of all those who have gone before me and that I will see them again someday in heaven.

  3. Jamie
    Aug 5, 2011

    You are seriously an inspiration to me and I’m sure so many others. You have made beauty from ashes. Grief certainly does hit just like that! I look forward to seeing my three precious babies in heaven. What a reunion that will be! And I too had heaven on my mind a little more yesterday… Thanks for allowing God to work through you to touch others’ lives!

    • Kathy
      Aug 5, 2011

      Thanks, Jamie!
      Anticipating heaven with you!

  4. Alissa
    Aug 5, 2012

    I remember when you all used to come over while mom cut Jon’s hair. He always made me laugh. What a great memory. Thanks for sharing this, Kathy!

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