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Getting to Know Single Bo

 

 

I met Steve Stern when I was 16 years old.  We fell in love when I was 18 and were married one year later. Knowing him, loving him, making a life with him – it’s most of what I know in this world.  When I lost him a few months ago, I felt a little like I and all my history had been erased – it was as if I couldn’t see my own face in the mirror anymore.  The first month was filled with spinning, spinning, trying to find solid footing. It was so easy to focus on what’s been lost, and very hard work to fully appreciate what remains.

 

About six weeks in, I sat down and had a good heart-to-heart with myself.  I made the decision to stop looking back and figure out who I am now.  I wanted to get to know this Bo.  Single Bo (which still sounds super weird to me.)  Steve will always be such an enormous part of my life because that’s what truly great people do to you. They weave their way into your thoughts and opinions and hopes and dreams, and when they’re gone holes happen.  Gaping holes. Scary holes. I’ve watched some sorrow-sojourners fill those holes up with someone or something else so they’ll stop hurting.  No judgement on this method, I’ve seen it work for some, but it’s just not for me.  I don’t want quick fills.  And I don’t want to form this new season of my life around another person.  Quite transparently, that means I don’t want to look a certain way or cook a certain way or fold my laundry a certain way because of someone else.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever.  But I’ve been around long enough to know that in the “not yet” and the “maybe not ever”, unknown possibilities are often incubating inside the sovereignty of God.  I’m more than content coexisting with that mystery, and in being on a need-to-know basis with Him.

 

 

In related news, a few friends have asked about my wedding ring, which I recently moved to my right hand (baby steps) and will eventually put on a chain.  I didn’t move it because I’m ready to move onto another person, but because it felt like an important step in the next phase of the journey (though again, lots of people do it differently and that’s perfectly great!) I’m saying yes to this season of life, however scary and crazy and uncomfortable it may feel. I am in no condition to date, so refrain from sending me suggestions. Just know that I am alive and well and trying to lean into the adventure. I can’t change that loss and sorrow are a part of my story, but I can choose to write the narrative around it to include discovery, development and joy in the me that I am now and the me that I will (hopefully!) become.

 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I know this is intensely personal and perhaps even really awkward to read. If I’m honest, it was pretty awkward to write.  But this is my story and I’ve come to believe my story is good. And also? I’m grateful for you.

 

With hope,

 

Bo

 

 

 

 

January 8, 2016 - 1:36 pm

Phyllis B - As always, thank your for sharing.

January 8, 2016 - 1:47 pm

Debbie McKenney - Dear Bo,
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I wish you had been writing these words 20 years ago, when I walked this road . . . only I don’t wish that for you, because I’m glad you had all those years with your Steve.
I was 12 1/2 years into marriage when my husband died suddenly, we had 2 children, ages 7 years and 10 months. I too had met him young, married young. I too had to learn who I was and only by the grace of God was I able to figure that out. I’m still working on it because my children are now adults, so the ‘Mom’ title has diminished and the ‘Me’ title has increased.
Baby steps are the best. God’s grace is amazing.
You have been in my prayers for the past few years and I will continue to pray for you as you walk this road God has you on.
Again, thank you for sharing your heart.
In Him,
Debbie

January 8, 2016 - 1:51 pm

Sue Powell - I didn’t find any of the thoughts your shared here to be ‘awkward’ in any way! But whole and raw and honest,just like your books,just like YOU.What a blessing to be able to ‘look in the mirror’,and see that new version of who you were;married Bo to single Bo,and be content to let Abba work out all the details,without all the ‘stress and strain’ of trying to ‘fill in the gaping holes’ yourself.One of those ‘mysterious ways’ of our Father;when He fills us up with His Presence..there is ‘room enough for whomever He brings along with Him’.Love and hugs,Sue4Him

January 8, 2016 - 1:55 pm

Darleen - I love your updates and take in every word and anticipate the next as if I’m in the middle of an amazing novel! Bo, thank you for being such a great example as a Christ follower, you are needed in a dark, what appears to be hopeless world, you are salt and light! Darleen

January 8, 2016 - 2:11 pm

Jalet - You are the bravest, broken, healing, faith entrenched, visionary, with rock solid transparency, that elevates us all on life’s chaotic journey, I know. I love you and the weird correlation that single yells and vibrates into the quiet space you are newly discovering. You are sojourning, so well.

January 8, 2016 - 2:14 pm

Christine Duncan - Bo, your courage, no matter how awkward, is so needed in our time… praying for you all, and your journey is an inspiration. Feeling blessed to have discovered your beautiful blog almost two years ago.

January 8, 2016 - 3:01 pm

Rebecca - Bo, my husband passed away on August 12, 2015 after a 5 year struggle with vascular dementia. So close to the time of your loss. My thinking is much like your’s. However, we were married for 47 years. I am sorry your love was so much shorter. I have been told I will always feel married. That felt so comforting to me because I could not imagine thinking otherwise. I have known my husband my entire life. He will always be a large part of my thinking. Your writings are an inspiration to me. I can feel the raw in this writing as I am right there with you–feeling raw myself. The healing is yet to come. Love to you.

January 8, 2016 - 3:28 pm

Angie - Your story is good. 🙂
Thank you for sharing so transparently. I’m proud of myself that I made it all the way to the last paragraph before I started crying.
Thank you for inspiring us throughout your journey. I can’t say it as eloquently as I would like, but please know that the seeds you are sowing are growing and beautiful things are happening (and I think I am speaking for lots of people) in our hearts and attitudes because of you.

Angie

January 8, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Lori - You inspire. Keep going strong, girlfriend.

January 8, 2016 - 4:11 pm

Debbie Earlywine-Jackson - Love you Bo!! My the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine, shine, shine upon you his beautiful daughter!!

January 8, 2016 - 4:14 pm

Joy - Good luck in your venture of moving forward getting to know yourself. That is courageous and brave! God go with you!

January 8, 2016 - 4:28 pm

Lori - Not awkward at all…..just different. Hugs to you! And your kids:)

January 8, 2016 - 5:24 pm

Karen - Ah Bo…..my learning to be single came from a very different source and was in some ways a time of celebration for me, but also very sad and hard….and you know in your heart that you need lots of time to learn to be “Single Bo”, or, could we just call you “Bo 2016”? Be ever gentle with yourself and I’m confident that a new and glorious chapter is unfolding in your life.

hugs,
Karen

January 8, 2016 - 8:26 pm

Toni - You don’t know me, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know each other. Sorrow-sojourners…..what a word. I know you already know this, but don’t give up, don’t stop and don’t worry too much about what other people think. Keep being brave. God loves us brave girls.

January 8, 2016 - 9:11 pm

Patti - Thank you for sharing this season with us!!

January 9, 2016 - 8:23 am

Debbie Hammagren - Bo, I love your words and your transparency. “Incubating inside the sovereignty of God” That phrase is where we should all live. Love to you!

January 9, 2016 - 1:13 pm

Lisa - Keep writing
We will be here

January 9, 2016 - 2:14 pm

Wanda Stewart - Bo,

I continue to enjoy your blog with tears and smiles. Stan and I were high school sweethearts and married short of 37 years at the time of his death.
I can so identify with the “not yet”, “maybe never” thoughts and said 6 weeks prior to his death that to be involved with anyone else would have to be “God-sent”
Knowing what to do with the wedding ring was another struggle for me. At times I thought it was a protective shield and took comfort wearing it. Stan work his on a chain and I like the idea of that possibility.
God Bless you in your journey!

January 9, 2016 - 2:33 pm

Jody Collins - God has anointed you with such wisdom on this side of your ‘single’ journey, Bo. Wow.
These are amazing lines: “I can’t change that loss and sorrow are a part of my story, but I can choose to write the narrative around it to include discovery, development and joy in the me that I am now and the me that I will (hopefully!) become”
So wise. And not wierd at all.

January 9, 2016 - 7:17 pm

Pat Whitson - Although we are strangers from the unbeliever person’s perspective, in the Body of Christ we are sisters… So, yes, I’m still ” with you” in your journey… In the Manual we both read for guidance and direction, namely the Bible, we are instructed, “their is wisdom in the counsel of many”… And, indeed, Bo, I see you, in this blog as a wise, vulnerable, and courageous counselor for our family to continue listening to regarding how to grieve… ” Jesus wept” at Lazarus’s tomb, and then He raised him from the dead, following that miracle up with instructing the witnesses to unbind him from the grave cloths he was still all tangled up in… I am so grateful that you seem to let us loving family members be a part in the Holy Spirit’s holy work of unwrapping you from Steve’s grave cloths. You remain in my heart and prayers as you continue walking on this path… Pat

January 18, 2016 - 2:27 pm

Jim Marr - I came across this blog post via a Facebook article from Charisma magazine. I could immediately relate to your journey somewhat as a widower. I know in those early stages of grieving, I found solace in the writings of other men who had lost their wives–thank for sharing your story for women facing such a great trial in life. As it turned out, I too found writing to be a cathartic process and a memoir was birthed: http://www.itwasoutoflove.org–free ebook for anyone to share

Your reference to moving the ring to your right hand very distinctly brought back those memories on my journey. You might find a couple paragraphs on Pg 194 interesting to read concerning my wedding ring and the right hand.

Blessings as God fulfills His purposes in your life.

–Jim

January 18, 2016 - 2:29 pm

Jim Marr - Oops, some characters got stuck together in that ebook link:

http://www.itwasoutoflove.org

January 21, 2016 - 4:23 pm

Bernard - Hi Bo,
Here in New Zealand, or Aotearoa as us Maori call it which means ‘Land of the long white cloud’, Focus on the family have been doing a re-run of their shows from 2015. I guess a re-run of the ones that made the most impact, and I must say that after having the privilege, over the last couple of nights, of listening to your journey with your husband and your children, I just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey. A journey that, I must mention, also included our Almighty Father in Heaven, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus, The Awesome Power of the Holy Spirit. Thanks again for sharing your story Bo.

Blessings from Aotearoa,

Bernard.

January 24, 2016 - 7:28 pm

Marlys Miller - You are such a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing from your heart. May God richly bless you and your family.

January 24, 2016 - 8:35 pm

Chris Collins - Day 167 for me. Thanks for putting into words how it feels.

January 29, 2016 - 12:12 pm

Andrea - Dear Bo, Funny how God directs us. Sitting here on a rainy Friday and some how happened upon your blog. My Aunt was diagnosed last year with bulbar ALS. Her decline has been so rapid I can’t really wrap my mind around it. Her physician said if we are lucky she might make it to spring. She is so hopeful to see the garden we planted for her come into bloom. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope you will continue.I guess that’s why we are called to help carry each other’s sorrows. Today mine feel a little lighter. God bless