All the Little Hard Things

Several weeks ago, I opened the app for our local hospital system to check information about an upcoming appointment. I was surprised to see the “Widowed” box checked on my profile. Although I hadn’t changed my marital status, apparently the system defaulted to it after I canceled all Jim’s appointments and various offices marked him “deceased.” Seeing the “Widowed” label for the first time was just one of the little hard things I’m dealing with currently.

Waking Up to Reality

Early mornings are difficult. Floating out of sleep, I hit that zinger moment of reality, as I stretch my hand to the cold side of the bed and realize the truth of my circumstances. That is when I pray, asking the Comforter to walk with me through the day.

The Emptier Calendar

In retirement, our calendar seemed to overflow with appointments, upcoming events, and celebrations. Canceling Jim’s appointments was one of the hard things. Now, the calendar is much emptier.

Returning to Restaurants Alone

Jim and I frequented several restaurants near our home. The waitstaff knew us. The first time I returned to one of those restaurants, and the server said, “Where’s your sidekick?” Explaining Jim’s absence was hard for both of us. The suddenly-not-here aspect of Jim’s death is challenging to grasp for everyone.

Learning to Say “I”

For 43 years, I’ve used the word “we” in conversation with others. We are planning a trip. We enjoyed that movie. We are looking forward to time with our grandchildren. Now, I am learning to say “I.”


For most couples, evening is a time of regrouping, talking, and winding down. It was no different for us. The first month after Jim’s death I found it impossible to sit in the den in the evenings. Gradually, I’m adjusting to evenings alone.

Thinking of Things I Want to Tell Jim

Countless times since January 3 I’ve thought of things I want to tell Jim when I see him. Then, I realize those things won’t matter at all when I see him again.

The Text Messages That Don’t Come

Each Sunday morning, when the choir came down from the loft, Jim sent me a text message telling me where he was sitting. I couldn’t always see him from the choir loft, so his text was my roadmap. It has taken me weeks to adjust to the absence of those texts.

Lost and Found

Several weeks after Jim’s death, I wore the ring we bought on our trip to Italy, Turkey, and Greece last September. At some point that afternoon, I realized the ring was no longer on my finger. I initiated a frantic search, and then cried a river when the ring was nowhere to be found. It felt like too much to lose the ring that was a reminder of a wonderful trip we shared.

The next morning, I moved a stack of laundry, and there, on the bottom of the stack was my ring! Finding the ring was a reminder of God’s involvement in the details of our lives. He knew how important that ring was to me and guided me to it.

The Balance of Difficult with Hopeful

I know all these little hard things are part of the grieving process, the adjustments, the acceptance of new circumstances. Through all of this, I am grateful for, and encouraged by, the following:

The Assurance of Eternity—Because of the great love and sacrifice of Jesus, I know there is life beyond the grave.

The Hope of Heaven—Heaven is real and I will see Jim again one day.

Prayers of Family and Friends—So many are praying, and I feel those prayers.

The Comforter—The Holy Spirit, the Counselor, is present and active in my life.

Fresh Mercies Every Morning—Each new day is a reminder of God’s mercy and love. I can sustain forward motion because I serve a compassionate, faithful, good God.

“It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 AMPC).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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  1. The ring story brought tears to my eyes because I imagined how I might have felt at that moment. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I pray hundreds of positive “little things” will be coming your way.

  2. I have walked this road with many of my friends. It’s tough and as I think back to where they were just after their partner died, I see God’s goodness and mercy as they are continuing life alone. This post will be such a part of the healing process for many and thank you for your faithfulness in continuing to share your heart.

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