*Story orignally published on September 22, 2014. Read updates on Dana at her site:  Dana Hurst.com and on her Facebook page.

I have always been the peace maker in the family and the people pleaser in a friendship. Looking at birth order, some may contribute it to middle child syndrome. I, on the other hand, think it is a characteristic that has started and developed in the last three years. Three years. Three years since my husband was diagnosed with Cancer. Three years, not one. Two years of Cancer and almost one year since his death. Unlike what most would think, my grieving journey did not start the day of his passing, but the day of his diagnosis.

August 5th, 2011 – the day my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. The day I will always remember. Being an ER doctor, he knew the fragility of life. He knew the statistics. He knew that if brain cancer didn’t take your life it could take who you were. His prayer on August 5th, 2011 was to not focus on the end, but instead focus on what time he had left. God answered that prayer way beyond what we could have ever asked. We lived two years of a life of quality. Up until the last three months, we never lived a life where cancer defined us. We knew the story did not belong to us. The story was God’s and we sacrificed days of grieving and instead focused on hope so others would see Christ. We walked out the door and we praised God in the good and bad. We prayed for others who grieved our journey and we carried them with us.

As a husband, a provider and protector, David’s main concern was myself and the kids. He worried what would come of me after he was gone. He worried how I would carry on. He worried if I would move on. He worried if I would be strong enough to handle death. He worried that I would not take his legacy of life and live the life I still carried. There were late nights where he sat me down, encouraged and reminded me that his day would soon come and I needed to be ready. With brain cancer, you never knew when it would all change. You never knew when one centimeter of growth could change everything about the person you loved. So you prepared – and he worked hard to prepare me. I had the best coach. Even though I hated those conversations. Even though I sat crying through the majority of them. I am forever thankful for them.

They gave me the blessing to live.

They gave me the chance to know my husband’s wish for the kids and me.

They helped me to once again see a man that loved us more than his own life.

They gave me the chance to start the grieving process three years ago.

They grew me closer to Christ.

They gave me the encouragement to provide for Audrey and Parker the way David would want.

They gave me the blessing to move on.

They gave me the blessing to love again.

They gave me the understanding that to move on didn’t mean I needed to stop grieving.

So as the year approaches, I watch and carry for many of you who began to grieve just one year ago. I carry that heartache for you. I will never stop grieving the loss of a man that loved us so deeply. I work hard to make sure that everyone is moving along in their grieving process. I work hard to please others as I move on. But, as the year approaches I am reminded of the last three years. I am reminded of being the only one that lived it every day. I am reminded of what matters. I am reminded that moving on and grieving can go hand and hand. It does not have to be one or the other. I am reminded of the blessings given from a man that wanted the best for us. I am reminded of the fragility of life. I am reminded of the legacy David left:

“Live Dana. And the only one you need to please is Christ.”

Thank you for living life with me. For walking this journey with me. For opening up to me. For allowing me to open up with you. As the year approaches, I have prayed about the best way to honor David’s life. How to incorporate the two people that matter most in all of this, Audrey and Parker. Instead of grieving the loss of a man deeply loved we will celebrate the life that heaven gained. I ask for prayers as my trip to Africa is only a few weeks away. A trip to experience life with women across the country who have also lost their husbands. Pray for safe travels and for God to open all our hearts to receive His love and healing.

Taking Steps of Faith,
Dana Hurst

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Dana Hurst

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