Never Lose the Wonder

It still all feels completely surreal and I know I haven't hit the deepest part of grief yet. That seems to happen a few weeks after the event, when the permanence of the reality of loss gradually works its way under the skin and through many layers and finally hits your core. That's when you change from the inside and you are never the same again and from then on you have to build a new reality for yourself - a new identity without the person, and a new way of coping with everything without them, and a new way of filing things in your head - the "actual now and future" and the "this will never ever happen again". Right now all those things are blurry and it may as well be that he's just somewhere else while I'm having a few days doing stuff without him. 

But there is peace already, and I've been pondering where this peace has come from, mainly to check that it's not just denial. But I don't think it is - I think it's wonder. And this is where that wonder has come from....

I don't think I've ever hit a point in life where I feel like I was owed anything. I remember as a kid always wondering how come I got to be part of a big family, and get raised in a great church, and was born in twentieth century Britain, of all the times and places in the world to be born. 

When I got married we used to joke that we felt like at any moment someone would come and knock on the door of our new house and say "Hey, what are you doing? This isn't for real, go back to your parents!" I was 20 and he was 25, but we felt like a couple of kids pretending to be real grown ups and playing house. 

When we had children I could never get over that either. Like, do we really get to keep them? Forever? And we get to chose how many we have? And we were allowed to have five when so many people can't even have one, and we didn't have any miscarriages or anything. 

We got to do so much we wanted to. We were allowed to do youth work full time for two years. We got to go to bible college and study our favourite thing for three whole years. We got to visit Haiti, where Richard grew up. We said we wanted to plant a church, and not only did people let us, but they helped to support us finically too. 

And, to top it all, people chose to join our church too. 

I've never got over any of this. How come we got to do so much of it? I'm not saying it came easy - not at all. Richard often worked two jobs at the same time, and studied into the night for college and church. I've had little children at home for over twelve years and sometimes been far from family and familiar friends, while also working towards our degrees or our church plant. But I still never felt like we were owed it. It has still all felt like we have been so privileged to be allowed to throw ourselves heart and soul into stuff we love, and to eventually see rewards reaped from them. Some people never get that chance. 

I haven't exactly been waiting for it to crash around my ears, but I do know I have taken as many opportunities as possible to suck in moments and really appreciate what we've had. It's not usually been the easiest moments that have made me do this - it's been the times when a tantrum is being thrown, or our cash card has been rejected at the till, or I've been so exhausted that I couldn't stop crying. Those are the moments that have made me stop and look at what I do have, and love it all the more, because I know that things change and nothing stays this way forever, so I need to keep walking through that particular season until we come through it and things will change again and I will look back and see it differently. 

Never, ever, have I expected perfection. This world is messed up and I've had my nose in books all my life that show me that there is more to life than my little bubble. Everyone of us goes through hard times, although they all look different. This doesn't have to turn us into pessimists though. On the contrary, it should make us look at everything that happens to us and say "Wow!" It should make us seek the wonder in everything. The only reason we experience loss is because we had in the first place. If we start from a place of gratitude, then we see everything in life as a gift, and we don't begrudge the gifts that slip from our fingers. We are grateful for having it all in the first place, and we know we can trust the One who gives, because He's already shown is how good He is at giving, so who knows what else we will be given in the future?

There are still a lot of tears and anger, and wishing things were different, but right now nothing else is as powerful as the wonder, and I hope that it stays that way. Maybe if my grief increases, then my wonder can too. God is good like that. 

This week the children will go back to school and I will start doing some difficult tasks like ringing insurance companies and banks to change all our details. I'm not doing any of this alone, thank goodness, as I've been given help every step of the way. But I would appreciate your prayers, particularly for the kids as they step back into reality after a week of holidays and sunshine. 

And also as we make preparations for the service of celebration for Richard's life on Monday 9th. It will take place at 12:00 noon at Fulwood Free Methodist Church in Preston, with food provided afterwards, and is open to anyone who would like to attend.

Thankyou again for all the love, prayers and words of support that have been flooding in. It really is amazing, and helps to keep me filled with wonder.


  1. My darling, darling girl. Stay filled with wonder.

    Love you!

  2. God is good like that..... so true and my prayer is that you'll daily be reminded of this in the "little" things.
    Stay with - even look for - the wonder.
    Love Ruth (a friend of Laura's - you don't know me but I've been praying for you since I heard about Richard's illness last year)

  3. God has given you a gift and ability to put such deep things into written words. That, in the midst of unbelievable grief, you are able to write things that challenge and encourage others is amazing. Praying that the Father's loving arms enfold you all and that your wonder grows and grows.

  4. You are truly an amazing woman Esther Scholes. In the midst of such loss you continue to challenge us, encourage us and mightily bless us. May we be such a blessing to you too by praying for you guys in the weeks and months to come. God has such an amazing plan for your life Esther! Sending much love to you all xx

  5. Here I am again in tears - you are such an amazing woman Esther I find it so humbling reading your blog - I continue to pray for you that you stay in that wonderful place of peace. I have experienced it to some measure when we lost our second child but you just absolutely amazing me!!! You are full of such courage and selflessness and example to us all. We will see you on the 9th and I hope we will see you in Morecambe too xxx

  6. Dorothy Cookson...Friend of your Mum.....Esther you fill me with wonder, what a special person you are. Your faith is second to none..... I will pray God takes care of you & especially the children & that his love surrounds you xxx

  7. Esther, I was knocked sideways as I came across a link to your latest blogs since Scooby and was gutted (despite having never met you personally) to hear of yet another heartbreaking blow to your family. I have literally, in between playing tunes and speaking to people (I work in radio) been reading the back catalogue since Richards first symptoms and my heart goes out to you. I followed your blog through your journey with Scooby too and have just been so impacted by yours, and Richard's, unfailing faith, optimism and positivity trusting completely in the One who gives and takes away, thank you so much for your words. Wow. I know you are only doing what God enables you to do but be encouraged at how inspiring that is (from a now grown woman with kids of her own who's mother's faith, when her dad died suddenly, led her into a relationship with God which has kept her secure ever since...if that makes sense). Thank you and I'll be praying for you, I hope Monday is, as well as the end of a chapter, a wonderful celebration xx

  8. I'm astounded by the beauty of your posts and your absolute courage. I don't know you (think I landed here because a friend re-tweeted you) but wanted to let you know that as a stranger, I will still be praying for you and your family. I know the 'dark night of the soul' which is grief, the sudden, stabbing pain in your guts at the 'never agains' but I also know that God holds us together in those unbvelievable times of agony. It seems trite to even write it - but I know it's true because I've experienced it in my life. I think you are simply remarkable and whether you feel it or not, this blog is a very important ministry for a lot of people. Bless you sister....may you really know his peace tonight. xx

  9. Hi, I've only just come across this via a shared link on fb. I will be praying for you and your little ones today but I will continue to pray in the days, weeks and months ahead. I hope you don't mind but I would like to share a little of what God has done through grief in my life. My brother died aged 22 when I was 17 in a car accident. I had loved God since I was 6 but I was so angry and hurting so bad. In Jeremiah 29 God says 'you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ' I will be honest and tell you that about 2 years after I tried to deny God but I couldn't. I started seeking to know Him more, to understand and without Mervyn's accident I wouldn't have , I would have trundled along enjoying life and church and missed the honour of finding places in God and knowing Him deeper. I eventually came to a place where I could thank God for the accident. That doesn't mean if I could go back to the night in Nov 1987 when my brother left to play squash I wouldn't say 'Stay home tonight Merv' of course I would but I have seen people come to know God through what happened. How can my grief , and I still grieve, I will always miss him, not be worth someone having eternity in Heaven? I have type 1 diabetes since being 5 and was diagnosed with both MS and coeliac disease 10 years ago but I can truly say thank you and know with all my heart that 'In ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him.' My dad died in a house fire 4 years ago and within 15 minutes of getting the news I looked my husband in the eye and told him I was saying thank you straight away. I didn't need to battle again.God doesn't cause the hard stuff to happen but He does allow it and then helps us through the aftermath if we let Him. He can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine in His promise in Romans 8:28. God bless you in the bumpy road ahead, allow the tears and allow the laughter too and allow God to do amazing things through you. I will set my alarm to pray at noon. Julie Holland


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