Learning to live with the love Ruth left behind.

Today is an anniversary. Not a happy one. It was one year ago that my fiancé Ruth Blake died just twenty six days prior to our wedding. Her death to me was sudden, unexpected and threw me into a downward spiral.

“I should know enough about loss to realize that you never really stop missing someone-you just learn to live around the huge gaping hole of their absence.” – Alyson Noel”

Following just three years after the death of Brenda this was more than anyone should face. Ruth and I had enjoyed a joyous eight month relationship that made us feel, and often act, like teenagers.

After Ruth’s passing there were times when I felt betrayed by God. My heart ached for months. I went through cycles of sadness followed by anger as I nursed my resentment. As much as I had loved God, I now began to want nothing to do with him. Bitterness was beginning to set in. With the recent experience of my grief journey with Brenda I knew it would not be possible to be reconciled. It was up to me to deal with my grief and move on.

After Ruth’s memorial service I left for Northern Ireland at the invitation of my friends Suzi and Tim in Port Stewart. I chose to get away. Actually, I was running away from the pain but it was through that visit I experienced a healing. Only the Lord could have changed my resentful, angry spirit. Tears flowed like cleansing rain and my negative emotions were washed away like refuse from a storm.

“Lord, thy will be done for both Brenda and Ruth.” This simple prayer set the course for experiencing the verses of Psalm 147, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” As I prayed and honestly acknowledged my feelings, the Holy Spirit shed light on a perspective I had not considered before. This was not all about me. God chose me for Ruth, to love her unto death. Under God’s grace, when I think about Ruth’s cancer and her death a new emotion has replaced my anger: compassion.

This it is now a new season. Walking together with Ruth’s family and finding great strength in the community at Barnabas Landing. Our coming together and building up of one another to love and grace reminds me that there are times when a person needs community more than ever. I appreciate watching my children, who have also lost a mom, pray for and love Ruth’s kids as they share that grief is not about learning to live without Mom, but to live with the love she has left behind. Brenda and Ruth both left a lot of love behind.

”The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler

Today I am in Budapest speaking to leaders – exactly what Ruth would want me to be doing. When I return, I am going back to Keats Island, to Barnabas rejoining the staff there. I am beginning a new mentorship initiative at Barnabas for young adults in September (www.barnabaslanding.org) something that I know has both Brenda and Ruth smiling.

23 thoughts on “Learning to live with the love Ruth left behind.

  1. This new post Ivan see is right from your heart. What a difficult time for you! I believe hard times can actually be “gifts” from God to draw us closer to Him, to actually experience His very presence with us. He has become a very real friend to you. ❤️ Mom

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I can’t imagine the pain or the impact of the loss Carson. I celebrate the revealed truth and profound compassion you received and give. You speak words of life on an important and exceptionally difficult topic. Thanks for your transparency and may your mentorship program impact 1000s.

  3. I hope that when I am gone, I will leave such love behind… So grateful for your testimony and your faithful witness, Carson! Standing with you in the journey… Lori McCary

  4. God’s grace and healing power in our grief is really a miracle for us to experience in our lives.
    He shines His light into our darkest times, and gently leads us back into the light. May God continue to bless and lead you, and touch others through sharing your experience of grief and healing.

  5. I am moved by your insights and my prayer for you as you walk this path is that the God you love and serve will give you grace and strength to face the days ahead. I care.

  6. This can only be God! Mysteries abound, and the Wild Goose chase continues. We appreciate you Carson! B and J

  7. Thank you for sharing your recent journey, I remember clearly on one Sunday morning at FBC, Brenda stood up in the pews to acknowledge her challenges ahead in her fight against cancer
    I think she had almost beaten it!
    Bitterness and anger, I think are our normal human response, you have overcome not once but twice! The question of why to God is a question I often wonder and been asked.
    What is your response or comment, given your personal journey?
    Blessings to you, thank you.
    Brother in Christ.
    John Chen

    P.S I don’t know if you remember me??

    1. Hi John – my insight has been that when I ask why of the creator of the universe, or as Job says “you placed the stars in place” my questions are actually self centred. God may have other purposes as I believe he did for others through Brenda and Ruth.

  8. Grieving with you my friend. “Brenda and Ruth both left a lot of love behind” …so so true and what a helpful place to put your focus. Praying my best prayers as you walk this journey. Love you to the moon and back❤️

  9. Paul Sailhamer Been thinking about you a lot today. So thankful we got to spend that evening with you and Ruth at our dinner in Stanley Park. What a reminder, it’s never just another dinner…they are all special.

  10. Thanks again Carson for sharing your heart with us in such a moving and helpful way. Looking forward to meeting you at Barnabas if you’re around at the end of October and comparing stories about the beautiful north coast of NI. Abrazos, Paul

    1. Hi Paul, yes I’ll be around your week. It will be here before we know it. Between now and then I’m going back to the Emerald Isle.

  11. Carson, How beautifully written. Your words so clearly describe your feelings. Thank you for sharing them. I’m not sure if you knew but Tony’s oldest son Jeremy took his own life 2 years ago on June 9th. Your words remind me of how difficult is was to watch someone you love deal with such tragedy. Incredibly heartbreaking! I was able to be Tony’s rock (his words) during the days & weeks after Jeremy’s. Thankfully Tony is in a good place now too! I am thankful that you had many rocks to hold you up and bring you back to exactly where you belong.Love,George

  12. Thank you for sharing Carson. What a blessing from the Holy Spirit to give you the insight that you were chosen for Ruth to love her unto death.I needed to her the quote again from Kubler Ross/David kessler and be reminded. Love for your journey.

  13. Thank you as always Carson for sharing!!

    Our love and prayers are with you!!❤️🙏❤️🙏

    Peter & Charlene

    P Fassbender’s iPhone!


  14. Thanks Carson for the courage in sharing your journey of heart and soul through grief and loss. God must love you deeply to trust you with two such severe mercies. Glad to hear of the next leg of your journey with the mentoring investment at Barnabas – always passing the baton…Blessings and many thanks to you for the investments you’ve made over the years!

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