Death of a Spouse Featured Journal

Breathe…Breathe…Breathe…

Written by Dana Hurst

Editor’s Note:  We are honored to have Dana’s words on Her View From Home.  I “met” Dana last fall only weeks before her husband passed away from cancer.  I found her blog from a friend of mine on social media…and I couldn’t stop reading.  Her faith, her courage, her strength – all incredible.  She is a strong mother to her two young children and truly an inspiration for so many across this globe.  I couldn’t wait to share her words with you all, and was truly humbled when she agreed to write for the site.  

Please give her a warm welcome.  Take a moment (or days) to read through their story over on hurstfamilyupdate.blogspot.com.  (I recommend this post.  Brought me to tears – gave me chills – the good kind.)  Thanks, Dana for sharing your story with us.  

Breathe….Breathe….Breathe

Have you seen the movie Frozen? If you have a daughter under the age of 8 you may have seen it multiple times by now. This is the case in our family.  If not your case, count your blessings. 

 The first time I took my six year old daughter to see Frozen, it was per her request. I knew nothing about the movie. It was a Disney movie. Couldn’t be bad, right? As many may know, within the first few minutes Princess Elsa uses her powers to create a magical experience of snow play with her frozen abilities. She does this with her younger sister, Anna who does not share in the same gifts. Within minutes of the movie starting, things go terribly wrong and instead of building a snow mountain, Princess Elsa accidentally freezes her sister causing her to be non responsive. 

Wow! Way to start a movie. 

It was at this moment that my 6 year old begins a fountain of crocodile tears in fear for Anna’s life.  Leave it to Disney, little Anna recovers physically with no harm done.  Again, this is in the first few minutes, so you wonder what’s next? 

It is then their parents decide to leave on a vacation by boat. Oh no…don’t take the boat. Yes, they die on the boat during a terrible storm leaving both Elsa and Anna on their own. Again, at this point in the plot my six year old, who just lost her father a few months earlier, begins her crocodile tears and says, “the mommy died too? 

I am speechless.

Audrey wants to go. Forget all the glorious beautiful music and the happy ending, she wants out of this theater!  I don’t blame her. I do too – but there is still an hour and a half left.  We have to wait for the happy ending.  

We had to wait for some more suffering to happen first.  Then finally, the happy ending came after 2 hours of horrific events that seemed all too real…and they live happily every after. Of course they do.  

We left the theater and Audrey said she did not want to go back to this movie. I watched all the other little girls run out; happy singing all the words to the songs and I look at Audrey and realize, this is all too real for her.

She is waiting and searching still for her happy ending.

A week later, Audrey was invited to go see the movie again. ( This is what happens when a Disney movie hits the home of every little girl). She was asked to attend with one of her very good friends whose mother also lost her father at the age of 5. I hesitated and explained the situation. I asked Audrey and she insisted.  Anxiously, I waited to hear how the experience went. Uhmmm….let’s just say not as well as the first time, if that was possible? The parents had to take Audrey out of the theater because of how terrified she was. 

You would think at this point I would nix the whole Frozen idea. Like I always say, no mother of the year here. 

And then there was another invite. A friend was hosting 18 girls to go see Frozen. (Yes, we mom’s do have insane in our name somewhere). I thought long and hard about Audrey going. I knew I could not put this on my friend when she had 17 other girls to attend to. So, I offered my services to help chaperone. 

I can verify insane is in my name

The days leading up to the movie, I prepared Audrey.  I let her know I would simply be there to talk her through the parts that scared her. We talked about breathing through the difficult moments.  I figured lately this has been my main stress reliever, why wouldn’t it work for a 6 year old?

So I went and I sat there anticipating what was to come. The movie started and right away Audrey clinched her teeth, held her knees to her chin and said, “it’s coming mommy. Elsa is going to hurt Anna. Hold my hand mommy. Hold my hand!”

I whispered, “I am not here to hold your hand. I am here to tell you it will be OK.  She will be OK.  Breathe Audrey.”

And she did.

She took the 3 largest breaths I have ever heard a child take and she made it.  She didn’t cry and she was OK. And then the next part, the parents dying…..eekkk. I even hate this part. She looked at me, “it’s coming. Can I sit on your lap?”

“No, you can’t,” I told her.  “Anna and Elsa will be OK. It will be OK.”

And without telling her, she took 3 large breaths and it was done. She didn’t cry and never said a word about it to me. The rest of the movie – perfect.  She sang the songs with the other girls. She munched on her popcorn, asked to go potty every 5 minutes…she was normal. Just like the rest. Despite what her little heart has suffered. 

We as parents, friends, and a community all want to shield those we love from ever experiencing any harm. We have fear and know too well what could come. We have seen suffering, but we have seen hope and faith too. When we experience loss, saddness, and heartache – whether it is from death, job loss, relationship disaster,  it is natural to want to run away from it.  It is natural to keep ourselves busy, shield are eyes from it happening, clinch our teeth, close our eyes and ask “when it will be over?”   

Instead, the pain and fear can prepare us, build us and encourage us the next time. Because there will always be a next time before our happy ending of eternity. Facing our suffering, facing our fear will only build us, strengthen us and make us to what many strive to be. 

 Roman’s 5: 3-5

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I lost my husband.  I acknowledge that there will always be suffering. I will always miss him.  I can clinch my teeth, close my eyes, run out of the theater, but what does that do? I need to face it. We all need to face our trials. We need to embrace, learn, and understand, because there will be more on this earth and in this life. But, we are stronger for it. We are more loving because of it. And while we all may experience are own Frozen movie time to time, there is always this little voice right inside us saying, “I am here, you will be OK, there will be a happy ending.  Open your eyes, I’ve got you.”

It is God not shielding us, allowing it to happen, helping us through because he knows we will be stronger for it and with him we will get through it. 

Phillipians 4: 6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Taking Steps of Faith,

Dana

Read more from Dana on HVFH.  

Want more powerful stories from writers on HVFH?  We suggest reading these from:

Kathy – Her son passed away from cancer, too.  Now she shares her message of strength.

Tiffany – Her daughter was shaken at daycare.  Today – she is healthy and learning to recover.  

About the author

Dana Hurst

Dana’s bio is coming soon. Read more about her at http://www.danahurst.com/

4 Comments

  • Absolutely beautiful! Thank you, Dana for your words. What a ministry to you provide to those who are grieving today.

  • Dana, one of my favorite posts you have written so far. How true this is for all of us. We have to face it, we have to breathe and keep going. With the promise of our happy endings. XO

  • Dana, you remain a constant source of hope, growth and love to us who follow you. God has truly blessed you with so much wisdom and love. You are so wonderful to share it with us for our betterment too. You are one of Gods blessings to us all. I will always be praying for you and your children as you traverse through all of life raising your children. Than you so much for your giving sprit to share all of us. We love you!

  • Dana,
    I am in awe of your wisdom and your courage to face this head on with your daughter, and your willingness to share the story with the rest of as as inspiration to face our own frozen moments. You qualify for mother of the year if I only for doing this with your daughter. So many of us would have just kept her home. The lesson you taught her and us is something we all need to remember. Thank you!
    Joanie