Life simply does not get any better than being married to your best friend. Cliff and I were blessed with 26 years and 3 months this side of Glory, and the promise of God-- who CANNOT lie-- of Eternity together. I had a crush on Cliff when I was about ten years old and never have gotten over it- I am now 48. He was and continues to be my Beloved. He was a devoted husband, a loving but firm father who was not afraid to have fun with his family, a loyal friend, a selfless neighbor, and a faithful servant of God. The Lord blessed me to appreciate our life together. This poem was written partly to encourage other wives to appreciate the husband God gave to them. We have 8 children (including my stepdaughter 32, our sons 26, 25, and 15; and our daughters 23, 12, 9, and 2) and five wonderful little grandsons. We are members of Mount Gilead Primitive Baptist. We have homeschooled since April 1988. I served many years as Activities Coordinator for Brookhaven Home Educators, where I became good friends with Lorraine. I am very involved in working with the 4H program (horse judging coach, horse club leader, shooting sports leader, county advisory committee, etc). In addition to being Mama (and Lubby to my grandsons) I love writing, history, horses, shaped-note singing, and investing time in the people I love.
My husband was a cowboy when we married; although he had to move on to other areas of employment, he continued to cowboy just because he loved it so much. After the funeral I prayed on the church steps that God would grant the children and myself a double portion of Cliff's spirit, as he did for Elisha with Elijah. When my children and I work with our horses and strive to continue the things that he did, we feel somehow more closely connected with him. We strive to learn more about farming and livestock so that we can keep this farm going the way he always did.
Another way I deal with the grief of being separated from him physically is by writing letters to him in a journal-- about our day, things that concern me, prayer needs, and I always try to include some of our memories. If the day brings a painful memory-- I always add a positive memory. You know, your best or worst day today tomorrow is only a memory, and our memories are a powerful element of who we are.
My husband met Death as he met Life-- bravely trusting God, and always submissive to His will. He never complained and he never gave up; therefore, we are committed not to complain and not to give up. God has been so good to us; He has showered us with blessings far beyond our ability to number. He continues to meet our every need.
May God bless you with eyes to see the bigger picture, and to appreciate your blessings.
IF WIVES ONLY KNEW
If a wife only knew what a widow knew,
There'd be a big change in the things she'd do
Trivial things wouldn't matter so much;
She would rather savor his loving touch.
She'd never fume and she'd seldom fret;
She would notice instead the glistening sweat
On the brow of a man who pours out his life
Selflessly providing for his kids and his wife.
She would never complain about picking up
His dirty socks or his coffee cup.
She'd thank the Lord for the man in her life
That of all the girls, he made HER his wife.
Her work would be done with one fell swoop!
She'd cook fries and burgers instead of that soup
(You KNOW soup's for sick people and if you're not--
You'll surely GET sick if you eat it a lot).
If a wife only knew what a widow knew,
She'd not just love him, she'd tell him so too.
She'd spend every moment as close as she could
And remind him of all he did that was good.
She'd smile and laugh more, just to give him some cheer
She'd encourage him always and make it quite clear
That nobody came before HIM on her list,
And if he weren't with her, he'd sorely be missed.
She'd reach for his hand, let it cradle her face,
Plant a kiss in his palm, and lovingly trace
The callouses that came from making her living--
Hands strong and ready, tender and giving.
They'd sit there in silence on the front porch swing-
She'd whisper ,"If I have you, I don't need anything."
If a wife would just listen, if she only knew,
That widow could tell her a thing or two.
She'd tell that wife-- don't take him for granted.
Choose carefully your words, they can't be recanted.
When he talks, look him straight in the eyes,
And don't forget how hard he tries
To make all the dreams for the family come true.
DO NOT underestimate his love for you.
When you look in his eyes, look clear through to his soul;
Remember how finding him made you whole?
She could tell that wife how soon the years fly
You won't even notice them passing by
The calendar filled with meaningless dribble
Your nerves frazzled just 'cause the kids quibble.
Hang on to the good times, those memories you'll need,
To face what's ahead in the new life you'll lead.
The nights then are lonely, the days are so long,
When you're faced with the fact that your Beloved is gone.
The questions, the what-ifs, the "I wish that I.
Had just done better, given more of a try"--
I know that he knew that he was THE ONE
But if I had just known, so much more I'd have done.
Yes, if a widow had just called me aside
And chosen in me her tale to confide,
I think I would have let a lot of things slide
And cherish each moment I spent by his side.
That man is a treasure, girl, don't you forget it-
Or the day may come when you'll surely regret it
So when he is doing the things Daddies do--
Putting together a tricycle, tying a shoe,
Rocking the baby to give you a break,
Rubbing your shoulders right where they ache,
Faithfully checking your car's warning light,
Scolding you for driving on a dark rainy night---
Just smile and say thank you to the Lord above
For ONE MORE DAY with the man that you love.
~~~~~Sandra Evans Berryhill 2007
In loving memory of
Clifford A. Berryhill