‘I set the box of ashes on the couch. She gathered her blanket close, the first time she’d sit next to her Daddy without weeping.’: Widow shares heartfelt moment with daughter after losing husband

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“She asks me to put his box of ashes on the couch – in the exact place he sat for months on end.

The exact place we pleaded for a miracle.

The exact place we cried over broken dreams, hopes and plans.

The exact place we realized we would not raise our children together.

The exact place he languished in pain and I could not do a single thing to relieve it.

The exact place the Lord met us time and time again and wept with us.

The exact place we mourned our happily ever after.

The exact place he fought death with everything he had.

The exact place he hugged his children goodbye.

The exact place his body faded into glory, one excruciating moment at a time.

The exact place he took my face in his hands and said, ‘Keep your heart open. I want you to rebuild.’

I go to my bedroom and pick up the box. My heart immediately recognizes its weight. My hands know every edge and corner of this container that holds all that’s physically left of the man I thought I’d grow old with.

I set the box on the couch, and she looks up at me and smiles. She gathers her blanket closer to her and breathes deeply, and this is the first time she’s sat next to her Daddy without weeping. That observation is bittersweet. I simultaneously love and hate it.

The box stays on the couch all day and all night. It’s still there this morning. No one seems in a hurry to move it. It brings me both comfort and pain, both healing and agony.

I wonder how long they’ll want the box to be there this time, and He gently reminds me: The past and the future can co-exist. Joy and suffering can sit together. Hope and grief can share the same heart.

It is so.”

Young daughter cries while sharing final moments with dying father due to terminal illness
Courtesy of Bethany Ashabraner

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Bethany Ashabraner. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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