7 years seems like such a long time, yet it also seems like such a small amount of time as well.

7 years full of birthdays, holidays, weddings, birth of nieces and nephews, beginnings and endings of friendships, and cross country moves.

March 9th is the 7th anniversary of my beloved Greg being with Jesus.

I wish I could say that loss gets easier as time passes. Truthfully, the grief just gets different. Life goes on and I have just learned to live without Greg being physically present in my life. I have a full time job and a part time job; I go to church and bible study and a recovery group; I have an amazing tribe of people who love me and encouragement and support me. I am blessed!

During one of our last moments together and one the last things that Greg said to me was, “I will never leave you.” He then sang the hymn “It Is Well” to me while he held me in his arms. 7 hours later he died in a car accident on his way to work.

I have held onto this hymn and the phrase “It is Well With My Soul”.

While Greg is not physically here on Earth, he is still with me in my heart and in the memories that we shared. It was not all rosy but I hold onto the good moments that we shared.

Losing Greg was one of the worst things that have happened in my life but it was also one of the greatest.

I know it sounds strange to say that the death of the person I had planned to spend the rest of my life with had good things come from it. It is true.

I learned a lot from the time that Greg and I shared together. I learned about sacrificial love, living out the fruits of the spirit, and acceptance. Greg was so good at these things.

I learned how to love someone who struggled with different sins than my own and to accept him for who he is; regardless of my own viewpoints. I learned from Greg’s example of how to love others. He never met a stranger and went out of his way to show Gods love to others. Greg was by no means perfect but he sure did practice the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22) daily. I do not know his secret but the Lord sure did make Greg unique!

Losing Greg taught me so much about life, love and myself. It has been another example of the Lord breaking me down and building me back up piece by piece.

I wish I could say that it has been a positive experience all the way around but I can say that in the last 7 years one of the lessons the Lord has taught me is how to have joy in the midst of difficult seasons. This is a lesson the Lord continues to teach me. Those who have been readers of my articles from early on know the significance of this lesson!

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

I grieve differently than most and that is ok! I go head and heart first into the grief and feel and process it. With that comes deep valleys. Learning to be joyful in the valleys is a positive step for me.

In the last 7 years I have been able to do things that Greg and I wanted to do together (such as live outside of TX. I know Greg would not have chosen CA to live! The plan was Arkansas! His homestate) and also continue to persue goals of my own (such as working on a Masters Degree, creating art again).

The grief is no longer constantly in my face on a daily or weekly basis anymore. However, Greg is obviously still in my heart and thoughts.

We were young when he was alive (he died at 25), we loved watching movies, listening to music, talking about muscle cars, dr.pepper (Gregs favorite), road tripping and so many other things.

In the years since Greg’s death: his favorite movie series (Harry Potter) completed, new superhero franchise began (Avengers, Captain America), the Razorbacks had a better season, Christian Bale is no longer Batman and Obama is no longer President; Mark Walberg is the lead actor in the Transformers reboot, Playstation & Xbox released new consoles to fuel the debate we had on which platform is better and of course the iPhone 7 which Greg would have had the day it released; his favorite bands have released new albums and Greg would more than likely have the new mustang (instead of his 2006).

All those things obviously bring Greg to my mind, what would his thoughts be on the new mustang specifications?, would he have disliked the iPhone 5 as much as I did?, would he think TMac’s last two albums were as fly as I think they are?, would he be annoyed by my love for John Legend music? or would he dig it too?, would he support my love for Golden State Warriors (even though he didn’t care for basketball), what would his thoughts be on the last two Harry Potter movies? and so on and so forth.

Those are examples of events that have occured in the last 7 years that we would have discussed in our own little world.

While those events have come and gone, I have learned to hold onto the sadness less and while it still does hurt not having Greg here and I miss him; I know that I will see him again one day.

I know that I have built a life for myself after his death. I have a wonderful tribe of close friends and famiy. I am apart of an amazing church, where I serve others and I am spiritually fed as well. I carry on Gregs legacy of loving others and loving them well.

While life still has and will continue to have difficult seasons in the future; through the lessons over the last 7 years that began with Greg’s death, I can say “It Is Well With My Soul”.

@Brandi R

Brandi Reyna

Ms. Reyna is a creative soul with a passion for helping others. Her faith is very important to her and is reflected in her writings. She writes about her faith and the role it plays in her grieving process and how she grieves. Ms. Reyna's purpose for writing is to give voice to and shed light on unique losses. Ms.Reyna's articles focus primarily on building and living a new life after the sudden loss of her fiancé; the subsequent grief associated with sudden loss, her identification as an "unwedded widow" (a widow who was not legally married to her beloved), loss of a parent (grandparent) and creating a new life while living with loss. Ms. Reyna shares her journey to encourage others in their own faith and in their own healing journey. She hopes that by sharing her story and leading by example through her own life that her journey will show others that we can experience significant and impactful losses and still experience a full and joy-filled life after loss. Ms. Reyna holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Studies with a specialization in Counseling.

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