Many of you have been praying specifically for my marriage.
When you’ve been with someone for 20 years, as Tim and I have, there’s definitely more focus on carpools and sports schedules than on swinging from the chandeliers or eating chocolate covered strawberries. Kids and careers can make couples feel far removed from the giddy love felt when the biggest concern on their minds was how to coordinate costumes for the keg party on Saturday night or whether to choose fondant for a wedding cake. Factor in the trauma of losing your beloved child in a violent, senseless accident, and the damage to a marriage can be irreparable. Tim and I truly appreciate and desire your continued prayers for our marriage.
When I think of the two of us, I realize that except for God, there is no one who loves our two children as much as we do. No one. There is no one else who quite understands just what a loss Jack’s death is to our family, and to the world. This realization, this love, will always be glue to bind us together.
The single most hopeful factor in our marriage right now is that my dear husband does not blame me for the accident. At all. As a blamer myself, I find this astounding. As much as I love Tim, I am afraid that if he had been the one to let the kids go outside in the storm that day, I would have pulled up the car, waved Margaret into the backseat, and said sayonara to him and the dog. I don’t mean to sound flippant, but in a horrific situation like this it is so easy to want to pin blame, as if having someone to blame can help make sense of something so freakin’ senseless.
I know part of the terror so many people feel about Jack’s accident is that it could have happened to anyone. My kids. Your kids. Your grandkids. Kids go out in the rain. Kids are fascinated by creeks...even kids who aren’t big risk-takers and don’t leave their cul de sacs unattended.
But here’s the thing: I know with CERTAINTY that the accident would not have happened on Tim’s watch. I know Tim so well, and there is simply no way he would have let Jack go out that day given the particular circumstances. And Tim would normally have been home to make that call, but because the kids had no activities that night, he was a little later than usual. When the neigbhorhood kids knocked on the door, I made the call.
But Tim doesn't blame me. Not a smidge. Nothing.
I wonder how I could ever look my husband in the eyes knowing he blamed me for what could have been and should have been but is no longer? No more catch in the yard, no more pro baseball games, no more guys' movie nights, no more complicated math or logic puzzles that left Margaret and me saying, “Huh?”
I simply couldn’t. I could not live with the blame, and my subsequent shame. But from Tim, there is no blame. And that makes me love him more today than I ever have before.
As much as I want to blame someone, even if I am that person, I need to accept what I view as the grace Tim is giving me, in the same way I have accepted God’s grace in my life, again and again. And I will accept it. Because in order to be in a relationship, that’s what we both need.
I am absolutely certain Jack would not want our family to implode because of his death. He would not want us to try to prove how much we love and miss him by clinging to self-blame, recrimination, or even rumination over the maddening timeline of the accident.
So Tim is following nature, his instincts, by not blaming me at all. And I am going against my nature, my instincts, by not blaming myself. I hope this will honor Jack's memory and bolster our marriage in the process, because Jack loved us, and he loved this family.