When Your Wife Dies
A Father’s Plan to Raising His Children
My life was great. I had stable job, a lovely wife with whom I had been married for 19 years. We had a 12-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter.
Then, in May of 2004, my wife, Cindy, was diagnosed with colon cancer. 12 months later she was gone. My bubble had exploded and I was trying to pick up all the pieces. I found out about The WARM Place and the three of us attended meetings every other week for approximately a year. I enjoyed the adult group and realized then that part of my therapy and working through my grief was helping others. I discovered that there was something healing when you stop focusing on your own misery and start to focus on other humans in need. I remember thinking that one of these days, I hope to become a group facilitator.
I had several opportunities open up 6 years later. Dr. John Richardson asked me to join The WARM Place board and I also became a group facilitator.
I noticed that there were several men who seemed somewhat lost and did not know what resources were available to them in order to help their families. I had learned much from my long journey and when I look back at all that I accomplished, I decided to write a book. I wanted this book to give men hope and inspire them to help their children to become happy and successful adults. So far I have hired a writing consultant/editor from California and have completed an outline, chapters 1-3 and parts of chapters 4 and 5.
The book describes my dealing with my wife’s cancer, death, helping my children, creating a plan, going to battle, grief in adults, grief in children, dating and marriage.
Below is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of my book:
Saving John Conner
There are fathers who are so consumed by their own grief and their own needs, that they are not able to be supportive of their children. I was determined that was not going to be me. I see it as our God-given responsibility to take care of and prepare our children for future generations. Why would you not make as your primary priority and mission, to develop your children, into well-balanced, happy and self-sufficient adults? I consider this a necessity for the survival of our world.
I thought again about why the death of my wife happened. Why would my children’s mother be taken from them? Why would God allow this to happen? I was angry, frustrated, perplexed, and sad. I have always been one to try and control my environment, analyze and figure things out. I was stupefied. I could not crack this code! Then, the thought entered my mind… what if I will never know this answer? I could spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out or I could accept it and trust that God would guide me. Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. What if God has chosen my children to do wondrous and incredible things for this world? What if my children were like John Conner in the Terminator movie? The Terminator’s job was to go back to the past to protect and support John Conner, for he was destined to lead the world and save humanity. “That’s it! I thought.” From now on, my job is to raise and nurture my children, as if they were both destined to lead our world to do great things. I then remembered what my friend Leslie had told me about Cindy’s spirit being with me. My plan will now be to allow Cindy’s spirit to be with me and to trust God’s guidance!
If there are any men out there who would like to share some examples of how they helped their children get through the loss of their mother, I would like to hear their stories.
-Frank W. Shiels, WARM Place Volunteer Facilitator and Board Member