New Berlin - Carolyn Ede says the heartbreak she suffered in May with the death of her husband has brought her a new perspective on life and love - a perspective that came over time, like Advent leads up to Christmas Day.
Jon, who was only 44 years old when he succumbed to cancer, was not only the father of two daughters, ages 2 and 13, but the joy in her life.
New view on life's journey
As the little New Berlin family experiences its first Christmas without husband and father, Carolyn isn't bitter. Rather, she said, she has slowly come to see the light, a sense of knowledge and understanding that adds to her new perspective on life.
It's not that bad things won't happen or that things will always turn out right in our eyes. Instead, part of her new perspective is having faith that things play out the way they do for a reason, that it will "all make sense in the end," she said.
Her husband profoundly affected her, their daughters and so many others, Carolyn said, that he must have been done with his journey.
"I can't be upset that I still have a journey," she said.
Her family was the typical busy American two-income family that didn't regularly make time for church.
"We ran through life," she said.
But when her husband was diagnosed with cancer in November 2011, Carolyn said, "I felt we needed some guidance," and a church was their first thought.
They turned to Blessed Savior Lutheran Church, 15250 W. Cleveland Ave., New Berlin, because that's where their daughter's Girl Scout troop meets.
Jon and Carolyn liked the sermons they heard and the personal guidance they received from Blessed Savior Pastor, the Rev. Martinho Sander. His guidance helped them through the dark days of May. His words also helped Carolyn through the confused, raging and grieving summer following Jon's death.
Time for friends and family
Her new perspective on life and love involves making family and friends her top priority, Carolyn said.
"Truly, tomorrow everything can change. I know," she said.
"When I have a moment with my kids, I focus on them. I'm here, I'm present," she added.
That wasn't always the case.
"Teens tend to need you at the most inconvenient moments," Carolyn said with a laugh.
At those awkward times, she used to catch her mind drifting back to what she needed to get done for career and accomplishment.
A certain amount of that is because Carolyn gave up her corporate America middle management career because of all the traveling it required.
Now, she works part time at Blessed Savior, making ends meet for now with the help of a pension from Jon's work and a lot of belt tightening.
Even though worry about the demands of career isn't taking her away from her children anymore, her attention still could wander with all she has to deal with as a suddenly single mom and breadwinner.
Eventually she knows, the family will probably have to sell their home and move into a more inexpensive home or an apartment, but her new perspective gives her courage to face that.
"I have faith that when the day comes that I have to make that decision, I will know what the right answer is," she said.
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