...is losing a wife harder to heal from than losing a child? Great question.
I'll start my answer with the always popular..."it depends."
Let me explain my reasoning. Sarah Ellen was one of the most amazing gifts I had ever been given. She was my best friend, ministry partner and "girlfriend" in the truest sense of the word. That doesn't mean we didn't have our share of difficulties, arguments and problems. But, at the end of the day, I knew what I had with Sarah and I loved it. Losing her was gut-wrenching and it literally and figuratively took my breath away. There were days where I felt like I was going to have to re-learn everything without her around. I would wake up in the middle of the night and reach out to find her...only to be reminded that she was gone. I would come in from work at times and catch myself thinking, "I don't see her. She must be in the bedroom." Then reality would set in. Losing her was hard.
Losing Josh was, in some regards, harder for me. Maybe it was the circumstances. Reeling from Sarah's death, I was very unsteady emotionally and mentally. Then Josh was overdosed and it drove the knife even deeper into my heart. Maybe it was his age. Although Sarah was a very young woman when she died (33), there is a sense that the loss of a 17 month old is a huge travesty because he never got to experience much of life. I never got to see what he would become. The world never got to know how special he was. I was cheated out of memories we never made and moments we never shared.
Now, here is where the "it depends" part comes in. There are seasons. Watching my kids grow and pass milestones without Sarah there to see them is hard. Then, knowing that milestones come and go that Josh never had a chance to reach is hard as well.
Let me just say that you never "get over" losing someone--child, parent, sibling or spouse--you learn to adapt, to handle the emotions that come, and to rebuild. Having Lisa, Morgan and Landon in my life has been a tremendous blessing and a wonderful part of the rebuilding. Heck, some guys go there whole life without finding someone to love them. I've been blessed to have two very amazing (and quite beautiful) women love me. So I've learned to adapt to what life has brought me....I am continuing to learn. But I don't think there is any way you can prepare yourself for the loss of someone you love. Nor can you measure the size of the loss.
Thanks for the great question, Debra.