And Life Comes Back: A Wife's Story of Love, Loss, and Hope Reclaimed

BOOK: And Life Comes Back: A Wife's Story of Love, Loss, and Hope Reclaimed
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Praise for
And Life Comes Back

“I couldn’t put
And Life Comes Back
down. As Tricia Lott Williford shared the heartbreaking death of her husband, her words spoke with piercing clarity to my own wife-heart. Holding nothing back, Tricia carried me through the pain, straight to what I know to be true about God—his faithfulness, goodness, strength, and peace, even in the midst of horrific loss. Of all the books you read this year, you can’t miss this one! It’s a journey that will leave you changed forever.”

, CEO and president, MOPS International

“Tricia Lott Williford’s book reminds us it often takes a thick darkness to make known the light.
And Life Comes Back
is a candle that will light your path.”

New York Times
best-selling author of
Blue Like Jazz

“Tricia Williford’s brave, exquisitely wrought book is an act of stunning generosity. It is a story of grief, yes, but also of how love, language, and work can give us back to ourselves, even after enormous loss, and can push us out of brutal darkness into the glorious, ordinary light of every day.”

New York Times
best-selling author of
Belong to Me
Falling Together

“I read this book through the night, every word a singular step toward purity and grace. Tricia Lott Williford takes us to a place so tender in its loss and yet so full of life that we willingly go with her through the sorrow to the truth of what comes after the great darkness.
And Life Comes Back
is no magical thinking. It is a treasure for any who love ‘what death can touch.’ A stunning voice; her story and her sharing of it a unique and longed-for celebration of the human spirit.”

, award-winning author of
Where Lilacs Still Bloom

“In the midst of devastating pain and the frailty of motherhood, Tricia narrates each scene with such poetic perfection about her own imperfection. Pages are woven with honesty, humor, doubt, and faith to reveal a woman’s unapologetic questioning of God, death, and grace. With bite-size lessons in friendship, marriage, and parenting, Tricia helps us capture the presence of God in both tragedy and in everyday dialogue.”

, executive pastor, Willow Creek Community Church (Crystal Lake Campus)

“Tricia’s story is profound and at the same time so simple. It’s tragic and at the same time so universal. It’s a story of deep grief and deep healing. It’s a story of hope for those of us who have been in the ditch and who pray we’ll find life again. It’s a story for you and me. You won’t want to miss this one.”

, author of
Packing Light:
Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage



12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica Inc.
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
. Scripture quotations marked (
) are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, © copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.

Details in some anecdotes and stories have been changed to protect the identities of the persons involved.

Trade Paperback ISBN 978-0-307-73198-2

eBook ISBN 978-0-307-73199-9

Copyright © 2014 by Tricia Lott Williford

Cover design by Kelly L. Howard; cover photography by Erica Shires/Corbis

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States by WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, New York, a Penguin Random House Company.

and its deer colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.

The Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file with the Library of Congress.


Most WaterBrook Multnomah books are available at special quantity discounts when purchased in bulk by corporations, organizations, and special-interest groups. Custom imprinting or excerpting can also be done to fit special needs. For information, please e-mail
[email protected]
or call 1-800-603-7051.


For Tucker and Tyler

’Tis a fearful thing

To love what death can touch.

To love, to hope, to dream,

And oh, to lose.

A thing for fools, this, Love,

But a holy thing,

To love what death can touch.

For your life has lived in me;

Your laugh once lifted me;

Your word was a gift to me.

To remember this brings painful joy.

’Tis a human thing, love,

A holy thing,

To love what death can touch.

—Judah Halevi

October 2012

Gas tank: full. Cell phone: charged. iPod: stocked. I drive up I-70 toward the mountains. A decision of classic, spontaneous impulsion on my part. Once I’ve decided I want to do something, I want to do it today. This is no exception.

Robb and I weren’t a perfect match. We were different in every way. But maybe the differences make the perfect match. He liked a planned agenda; I thrive on spontaneity. He was a filer. He put everything in its place. I am a piler, and I can’t find anything once it leaves my hands. He liked to visit the same restaurants and order favorite dishes; I like to try new places and taste new things. He went to bed at the same time every night, just after the nightly weather report at 9:17 p.m.; I come alive at night, often thinking and writing and creating into the early morning hours. He was deeply invested in the decisions of the government and any election; I am apolitical and often handed him my ballot since it mattered so much more to him. He believed in the thrill of competition; I enjoy the commercials and believe in the gracious social merits of the game. I always have a book in my hands; he was nonliterate. Not illiterate, but nonliterate; he hated to read. We parented differently. I read books, conduct Internet research, post on parenting blogs, and study consequences based on love and logic. He wrestled on the floor, tickled and roughhoused, and earned respect by saying things like, “Dude, just obey. I’ve pooped bigger than you.”

But we both loved road trips and loud music on the iPod. (I like mine louder than he preferred.) We loved having people in our home (although I could quickly and seamlessly add a chair to our dinner table while he preferred a guest list in advance). We both loved serving people; I would listen and learn their favorites and their fears, while he would grab his tool belt and fix any problem at hand.

Years ago I stopped trying to make us match—him the same as me, me the same as him. I learned that his relationships, although far less verbal, were in no way inferior to mine; they were just different. His experiences and his preferences were different from mine, but they were equally valuable. The ways he chose to love me were, in fact, loving me. The face of love depends on one’s willingness to understand two vernaculars of the same language. We were not the same. We didn’t always understand each other. And we made a great team.

In the passenger’s seat is the white paper bag with handles. It looks like it could come from a candle shop or a quaint boutique. No one might guess that it holds the canister of my husband’s ashes.

I drive on a two-lane road that becomes more winding, less crowded, and finally utterly secluded as I arrive at a lake just below the mountain’s highest elevation. I turn off the car. I step out. The air is crisp and silent. I button my coat, grab the handles of the white bag, and click the remote to lock the car as I walk toward the water.

Life was rich. No matter what the future held, this was a marvelous moment.

—Madeleine L’Engle,
Two-Part Invention

BOOK: And Life Comes Back: A Wife's Story of Love, Loss, and Hope Reclaimed
6.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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