$1.3 Million Matching Opportunity

Help provide unique resources to families hurt by the pandemic!

Click Here to Double Your Gift

Yes, DOUBLE MY GIFT to help families!

$1.3 Million Matching Opportunity

Help provide unique resources to families hurt by the pandemic!

Click Here to Double Your Gift

Yes, DOUBLE MY GIFT to help families!

$1.3 Million Matching Opportunity

Help provide unique resources to families hurt by the pandemic!

Click Here to Double Your Gift

Yes, Double my gift to help families!

Did Mommy Paint the Sky?

By Danny Oertli
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

A dad celebrates life, even as he grieves his wife's death.

The sunset was as brilliant as any I’d ever seen. Hues of red and gold blazed above the Colorado mountains as the light faded. I pulled the car to a stop to enjoy the view and heard 4-year-old Gracie’s voice in the backseat. “Daddy, did God let Mommy paint the sky tonight?” I turned and smiled at her, amazed once again at God’s creativity in ministering to the grieving.

My wife, Cyndi, died of an unexpected heart attack at the age of 30, leaving me the single father of two small children. Suddenly my world changed, and I was faced with the delicate balancing act of grieving Cyndi’s death while celebrating her life. To make matters more difficult, I had four little eyes looking at me for comfort and direction.

Stories of Cyndi

Lean into it. These were the words my Aunt Mary said to me early in my grieving. Having lost a son, she too knew grief. So in following her advice, each day I awoke with the goal to fully engage with this painful new reality. When I felt like crying, I allowed the tears to flow. When a random memory of Cyndi floated my way, I lingered, enjoying the remembrance. When the weight of grief felt too much to carry, I shared my struggles with a friend. Eventually, I found comfort in the leaning, knowing God holds every tear precious.

A friend once asked me, “What is one of your favorite memories of Cyndi?” The question took me by surprise. Many people had offered their condolences, but few people had asked about her life. In a time when so many things seemed dark, celebrating the joyful moments became a welcome reprieve. I realized that my children needed that same healing experience.

I began to share stories with the kids — not only stories of laughter and fun, but also of the deep movings of God, of failure and redemption. I told them how God personally and wonderfully orchestrated their mother’s every step. I wasn’t just sharing stories of Cyndi; I was sharing God’s story in Cyndi.

Healing

Honoring my wife was easy; the hard part was moving on. Just the thought of pressing forward gave me feelings of guilt, as if she wouldn’t be remembered. When do I stop leaning into the grief and start walking into a new day? When do I begin celebrating the new stories of God’s power in the lives of those around me? How do I do all of this as a single parent?

As I approached the question of how and when to move on, I relied on God’s still small voice for direction. In this newfound reliance, I was getting the one thing I needed most — a deeper connection with God. And the more I sought God for direction, the less burdened I was by definitive answers and the appearance of “grieving the right way.” There was no timeline or perfect way to parent through the grief, only the diligence to follow God’s leading when moving our family forward.

God has done much healing in the eight years since Cyndi passed away. I married a wonderful woman, Rayna, and she gave birth to Maggie, making us a family of five (with one profoundly ignorant beagle). But I’ll always remember that little voice in the backseat during a spectacular Colorado sunset and the creative ways God cares for those grieving.


Single-Parent Tool Kit

Practical ideas for helping children deal with the loss of a loved one:

Encourage them to share their happiest memory of the person they’ve lost.

Find other families who have been through something similar, and schedule an informal get-together or play date. Knowing you’re not alone is incredibly comforting.

Look through photos and videos, and relive the memories. This may be difficult, but tears are often cleansing and healing.

Read Bible stories about families or individuals who suffered a great tragedy, yet were comforted by God. Focus on God’s faithfulness.


Focus on the Family has resources and counseling to help you and your family. You can contact us during normal business hours at:

(800) A-FAMILY (232-6459)

[email protected]

Or you can find resources, referrals and articles to help you right now.

 

Copyright © 2010 by Danny Oertli. Used by permission.

Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

How useful was this article?

Click or Tap on a star to rate it!

Average Rating: 0 / 5

We are sorry that this was not useful for you!

Help us to improve.

Tell us how we can improve this article.

About the Author

Danny Oertli

Danny Oertli is a Christian singer-songwriter who has performed in venues around the world. He has recorded more than a half dozen albums including Breathe It In, Glimpes and his latest, Just Beyond the Door. Oertli is author of the book Mommy Paints the Sky which he wrote after the death of Cyndi, his wife and the mother of their …

You May Also Like

Fill out the form below, and we will email you a reminder.

Focus on the Family

Have Focus on the Family resources helped your family during the coronavirus pandemic? Share your story today and inspire others!