Monday, March 19, 2012


This Tuesday, March 20, marks the second anniversary of Bob's death. In many ways, that sentence alone is surreal.  Two years seems so long and so short at the same time.  It seems like forever since I've felt "normal" and yet it seems like yesterday that I heard his voice.

And since December, I've been very much aware of the fact that I am homesick.

I've never been the type of person to get homesick.  In fact, I'm one of those persons that has a hard time defining where home is.  By the time I left Canada at the age of seventeen, I had lived in five cities and three different provinces.  In 2009, I became an American citizen in order to keep working in West Africa or else I would have to give up my green (or resident alien) card for the US.  I've lived in West Africa for the last seven years, both Liberia and Ghana.  So, when people ask me where I'm from or what my citizenship is, I often don't know what to say.

But that's never really bothered me.  Because I've moved so much, I am not that attached to things - I rather enjoy the purge of getting rid of stuff every few years when we move.

Despite all the geographical and physical changes of moving, the core ingredients have remained the same.  Myself and my immediate family.  And now, of course, Bob is gone.  Hannah is in college.  Noah is leaving for college in a few short months.  Home now needs to be completely redefined.  But the scariest thing for me is that I am no longer the same either.  The past two years have changed me.  And I am homesick for me.  It's been two years since I've felt like myself.  And I believe that I'll never be the same person that I was when I was with Bob.  His life and death has changed me.

People who have experienced significant loss have expressed that various years can be the most difficult - the first, the second, the fourth, etc.  Since this is only my second year, I can only compare the first with the second.  The first year was comprised of shock, grief, and survival.  This past year has been characterized more with me trying to figure out who I am without Bob and where I belong.  Unfortunately, even though we have reached the end of the second year, that is still a work in progress, in no small part further complicated by our children leaving home for college.

The song, Homesick by Mercy Me, has been giving me some release over the past few months as it does a good job of expressing my feelings, so I decided to put it to pictures.  I know that this is a process and I continue to trust God to give me the "strength to make it through somehow", knowing that He will continue to walk with me and help me define a new "home."


Unknown said...

We mourn with you all over again.
Know that you, Hannah and Noah will be in our prayers again this week.

Maggie said...

That is one of my favorite songs and it always makes me cry. Your slide show was so beautiful and it was so nice to see his face again. I remember singing with him and driving across the USA in a U-haul when I was 6 years old. I will pray for you as you go thru this transition. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Nancy said...

Oh, Renita, what a beautiful song and what beautiful pictures. You will be in our prayers. P. S. I love seeing the smile on Hannah's face in these pictures. she is so beautiful.

Quawu said...

Hi Retina,
Please know that we share some of your feelings...we may not feel exactly as you feel but, we surely miss Bob and we hope it will help you to know that.

Even though, we were not fortunate to have met your husband in person, we know that he was indeed, a wonderful person. Bob made some of us feel like distant relatives to your magnificent family perhaps, through his amazing communication skills on the blog.

Whenever I read some of Bob’s interaction with Trokon in Liberia I would somehow, feel like been right there in “Thinkers Village” with you all at the time whereas, I am so many thousands miles away here in the USA.

In time like these Retina…when you feel home sick and alone, just remember that Bob was working in the Lord’s vine yard when called home and you should take consolation in that and cheer up.

God Bless you and the kids!

Joseph Harris