My Personal Testimony
Grab a cup of coffee friend and let me share my testimony of trauma and healing. I am now ready to share.
A life can become a broken puzzle, shattered, as if dropped or thrown without care. We see the broken pieces with disorientation. The eyes become clouded by pain, confusion, and frustration. Unforgiveness, hatred, and bitterness fight to fill the heart making it become hard.
For the last year and a half my prayer was asking God to hold on to me and keep my heart soft, without bitterness and hatred. I continuously had to seek forgiveness for myself and for others. I often pictured myself holding on to the hem of Jesus’s garment as my world shattered, crumbled, and just broke.
Over 19 years ago, I met this man through a close friend. He was funny and down to earth. He believed in Jesus. He was caring and thoughtful. He was a hard working mechanic. We started dating right away, 3 months later we were married. I married my husband in 2001. We were both 21. We had our fights, we had our struggles, but we both loved each other and there was value in our commitment. He was a good man and a peace maker. He began to find who he really was at the age of 38. He was soaring with so many possibilities and blessings. He was always there for those who needed help without expectations, He was always feeding those who came around, and we always had plenty of leftovers. Food would fall out of the fridge every time we opened it, this would be aggravating, frustrating, yet hilarious. We would try to send food home with others. He loved to cook, he was the best cook I knew, I was getting fat.
We had three children together, 2 boys and one girl. My husband loved children, he was a kid magnet. He had a special bond with each of his kids. All three where, and still are, so different. Our oldest boy shadowed him, learned from him, whether it was his or his dad’s choice. Our middle child, the second boy was, and still is, a bit of a recluse. However, he would always be right there if dad was going somewhere. Our youngest, the daughter, often felt left out. They came up with there own handshake. If she was feeling left out, or pushed away, by her brothers, or all the other kids hanging around, all she had to do was walk up and do their secret handshake with him. Tickles and giggles always seemed to follow after, most of the time.
My husband loved to spoil all of us during holidays. I believe he had more enjoyment in picking out and giving the gifts than the kids did getting them. He lived for holidays. Christmas was always something to behold. A full house, friends and family, gifts pretty much covered the whole living room floor due to everyone there. Lots of food, lots and lots, of food. His turkey always came out so moist that it melt in the mouth. His ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ mashed potatoes that zinged with so much flavor. Those were his two signature dishes that everyone looked forward to. He really knew how to make everyone feel welcome and important.
He loved his siblings, he wanted to connect with his two brothers, they loved snowmobiling so he got into snowmobiling. We all enjoyed snowmobiling as a family. Being up on top of the mountains with the glittering snow and the blue sky stretching out yonder like an upside-down ocean was magical. We met some great people, one of the couples still remain close friends of mine.
December of 2018 was a busy month, My husband was the president of a Jeep club and we were making stockings for a stocking drive that the club was putting on. We handed stockings out to local schools. Saturday December 22 we set up at a local fire station with hot cocoa and goodies to eat. So many people were there. So many stockings were handed out. It was the end of a busy but good commitment. December 23, 2018 was to be a day of rest to recoup before Christmas. We were all tired and needing a break. My husbands younger brother wanted to go snowmobiling that morning and talked him into going. I remember being irritated by this, I just wanted to relax the day away with him before we had to go to my family’s place for a gift exchange. I remember walking him out, hugging him, wanting to let him know how frustrating this was, but keeping it in and just cherishing him. I watched him walk away and at the last minute he turn around, ” I promise that I will be back in time to head over to your family’s place.” I told him, “That would really make me happy.” Little did I know that those would be the last words we would say to each other. I’m so glad I didn’t complain or throw a fit about him going snowmobiling. It’s a bitter sweet memory.
I was sitting at the kitchen table with a friend when my mother-in-law, who was prepping for Christmas dinner, got a phone call. I heard her say, “get him to breath, get him breathing!” My heart sank, I wondered who was hurt. She got off the phone and said my husband was knocked off his sled and they were trying to get him to breath. We waited what seemed like forever. I called my mom, she offered to come get the kids and take them to the gift exchange. I was so thankful for this. I don’t remember much of how we ended up at my cousins, who was a friend with all three brothers. I just remember my friend driving us there. I remember him calling and talking to someone. I remember him throwing his phone. I remember him saying that my husband didn’t make it. I was shattered, the pieces of my world crumbled and fell apart. I remember my whole being silently screaming as I cried out, “No, no, no!”
I dreaded telling my kids. When they got home that night I could see the worry on their faces. Telling them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. The oldest, 17 at the time, felt he had to step up and fill his dad’s shoes, our middle child became even more of a recluse, and our daughter developed some bad bloody noses. I myself couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think, the only thing I could do was hang onto the kids.
That first night I couldn’t even enter into our bedroom, in fact I couldn’t enter for a while. That first night I crawled into bed with my daughter, I was so careful not to wake her. I heard her say, “OK.” She then reached over and grabbed onto me and held me tight. A few minutes later she was awake. I asked her what happened, why did she say, “OK.” She said that her dad was standing by her bed and asked her to take care of me. That would totally be something he would say.
That Christmas was the hardest. He already did all his shopping, pretty much. All the presents he bought us were wrapped and under the tree. There was no helping the tears, as we all unwrapped gifts. Once all that was done what was left was the gifts we all bought him. We handed them out to each other like they were from him. Extremely painful, and hard.
Love for my husband in the community and beyond definitely showed. How much I appreciate everyone, family, friends, and strangers (to me), who came together to support us. Businesses, community clubs, and the Jeeping community also did what they could to support us. In the midst of trauma it was hard to see how blessed we were by this.
I didn’t know it then but our lives were going to change drastically again, and continue to change. Due to circumstances we lost the home my kids have ever known. We moved in with some close friends. After being an at home mom for 18 years I found a full time job. At work I made a great friend who was strong in faith and in a relationship with Christ. I was struggling with health issues. I thought it was just anxiety attacks. It turned out that my gallbladder had to be removed. Through this process and my instability I made choices that were questionable bringing us to more changes and more difficulties, even though the circumstances we found ourselves in didn’t work out, I don’t regret it. I got to reconnect with an old friend that helped in a lot of ways. This person helped draw my kids out. My kids started to breath life again. This person got me to snowmobile again. After my husbands accident I couldn’t even hear a snowmobile without freaking out. In a lot of ways this person was a God send. I will forever be grateful for this friend. I paid for schooling to become a licensed pastoral counselor.
It came time to try to find our own place. We found ourselves living with my mother and stepdad. They had to put up with us for about four months. Really, it’s so hard living with people and having people live with you. It messes up routine. My mom and stepdad were great, especially with helping me find a place to live. I never thought I would be be able to buy a home. I had no credit, no experience, and I just entered into full time work. There was not much of a market for rentals, and the few I did look at the owners decided to sell. I went to a family friend who was a Realtor. This person helped me get started and pointed me in the right direction. Buying a house is extremely stressful. God totally went before me in all this. He opened the doors and allowed no one to close them. I went to a home loan agency and happened to get locked in before the corona virus hit. I struggled getting everything they asked for. They wanted three proofs of payment up to a year. I had just that three (Netflix, phone, and insurance) that, at the date they needed it, it hit a year. They needed my W-2’s for the last two years. I had one but couldn’t find the other. I went to my tax lady and she told me she doesn’t keep copies of those, she sends them back in the folder with the taxes. She had all my paperwork scattered on her desk. I began to leave in defeat. As I started to open the door she calls out, “wait! Did you say you needed 2018 W-2’s!” I replied, “Yes.” She seemed so shocked that it was sitting right on top of all the paperwork. According to her knowledge it shouldn’t have been there. I thanked God all the way to the loan officer. It was like this throughout this whole process. At one time we were expecting something to come into the mail, that the home loan needed, but it never came. We were so frustrated because the virus was shutting things down and making it hard to get a hold of state officials. Everything was closing down. My loan officer decided to call the post office in the next county over to see if my mail, that we were waiting for, happened to be over there. Guess what. It was! We were both shocked. They were going to hold it for me so I could show up with identification to pick it up. I drove over in my truck right away. On my way over I felt my brakes slipping. I prayed the whole way. I got there, picked up the documents, and headed back to the loan officer. I dropped them off and went to the nearest mechanic shop. I lost all breaks as I pulled in.
I prayed for a home that would bring us healing and peace and a place for my huge desk to fit into, after all it is a part of me. I’m a 100% country girl, but the only place available to me was in town. However, I have to say that God knew I needed this place. It’s the perfect spot for me and my children. It’s brought us and is bringing us a lot of peace, a lot of healing, and my big desk fits- so happy. God has blessed me with a Christian neighbor, turns out she was praying for a Christian to move in. God answered both of our prayers.
It’s been over a year and a half since my husband passed away. I’m so thankful to everyone who kept me in prayer and was there for me when I needed guidance. All of you were a blessing from God in the midst of my trials. God has definitely moved mountains for me and my children. He has been with me every step of the way. I’m working, going to school, raising kids- who are flourishing in so many ways now, and we are moving forward. God has taken our shattered world and is putting it together one puzzle piece at a time. We have come so far, and yet, I know there is more to go. The other day I took my daughter to go see here dad at his grave, I watched her do their secret handshake with his headstone, it brought tears to my eyes. We are healing, I’m growing in my faith and calling, and I see growth in my kids as well. Every day is a new day, a new beginning.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~ Psalms 73:26
God Bless and Much Love ~H.E. Olsen