We'll send you weekly suggestions for breakthrough faith.

YOUR PATH: WordBytes » Bereavement (catalog) » Expectation: Letting Go to Move Forward

[Most articles can be downloaded; if you see no download form, write to us.]

I expected you for years.
My experience of the blessing that is you
Birthed an expectation of more.
I expected you for years.

I expected kisses to greet me.
I expected the sound of your voice.
I expected hearing something new.
I expected silliness.
I expected pride in our offspring.
I expected laughing with you.
I expected touching your face.
I expected sleeping next to you.
I expected sharing our dreams.
I expected you for years.

I still expect you.
I still expect to hear from you.
I still expect to spend time with you.
I still expect your ashes to stir.

Maybe grieving means ending expectation:
Teaching my mind your voice is silent,
Training my heart that no hug awaits.

I still expect you – and yet –
I put one foot in front of the other.
I explore the goodness still around me.
I count my fulfilled expectations.
I expected you for years.

I still expect you.
I expect you to greet me,
I expect you to take my hand.
I expect you to say you love me.
I expect you to dance with me.
I expect you to laugh with me.
I still expect you.
I expected you for years.

© 2005 by Joanne Horn

Expectations after a loved one dies — especially if it’s a spouse we’re mourning — feel like a hard, stone wall that we bang into at any moment, in many moments, throughout the day. We’re trying to move forward but our progress is interrupted by the terrible feeling that something is horribly wrong.

This can be triggered by the smallest of expectations, such as stirring cream into a cup of coffee; we automatically expect to hear the oft-said words of our spouse: “Mmmm, I love the smell of freshly brewed coffee.”

Expectations borne from “how things used to be” tie us to the loss and make grieving so painful. To move forward, we need to develop new expectations. Write a list of your new expectations. When old expectations remind you of what you have lost, recite out loud a new, replacement expectation.

For example, here are a few of mine that I listed after Joanne sent me her poem on the topic because my husband had passed away:

  • I will do well living on my own, a strong single woman.
  • I expect Jesus to guide me to the helpers I need.
  • When I want to chat with someone, I can do it with ____.
  • I will grow in my female friendships. Even if my friends don’t give me enough attention when I feel in need of it, I will at least ask. I will discover which ones are here for me most and I expect that friendship to become even better as we have a good give-and-take. I don’t expect a lot from those who are busy with their families and jobs.
  • I expect God to comfort me when I cry out to him during the frustrations of trying to do something that my husband used to do.
  • I expect the Holy Spirit to inspire me during my decision-making processes.

© 2024 by Terry Modica

Let Jesus minister to you more: See our other WordBytes on Bereavement >>

See all our WordBytes at Wordbytes.org >>

Find more faith-builders by visiting the Good News Ministries home page >>


Expectation: Letting Go to Move Forward

Free Download!A free PDF document of this is available for your own personal use.

donateHowever, your support can help us continue to provide faith-building resources like this.

For sharing with others, please get special permission.

To obtain the document with a Single User License, please submit this copyright contract agreement. See our copyright usage permissions policy.

What are you seeking from God? Find it in 60 seconds:

Notify of

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Palma
Bill Palma
April 5, 2024 3:33 am

That is so beautiful! At 85, it stirs thoughts I have of my wife and how I will feel without her if/when she leaves – or, more precisely, when she isn’t here but never leaves me.