Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | January 18, 2014

5 Weeks On a Hard Road and 5 More Weeks

At Tim and Pam Lupfer's Wedding, 1074

At Tim and Pam Lupfer’s Wedding, 1974

Five weeks ago we had the Memorial Service and celebration of life for my wife,  Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden.  Five weeks from now we bury her body at Arlington National Cemetery, February 21, 2014.

My Nellie has been in Heaven since she drew her last breath at 10:47 pm on December 9th, 2013.  We were there.  Loving her, touching her, talking and singing to her, kissing her.   And crying.

We got through CHRISTmas for the 4 grandbabies.  New Year’s.  I’m not having the blood pressure spikes anymore.  I don’t feel like my body is going to explode – literally.  And we – my family and I – are still crying a lot.

Tough people cry.  Trust me.  No man has ever called me weak.  Or, that my People were weak.  I come from a tough People.  So, did my wife of 38 years.  We live life as it is.  Salt of the earth – Jesus’s salt and light we hope.

People who love greatly, grieve greatly.   People who love passionately, grieve passionately.

Our crying isn’t the lonely, lost, whining of pagans.   But, there are a lot of tears.

Job 1:21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

We praise the one, only, true, living God – Father, Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit.   And, we’ve cried for 5 weeks.

We’re planning the details for sweet, precious Nellie’s burial.  Family, our clan, is gathering from across the country.  Old friends are coming.

I wish that crying for another 5 weeks would cry my eyes out, so I could face everyone with the joy of the Lord and light of love – like Nellie Katherine’s eyes held.  But, I know differently.

The picture above, from 1974, was sent from my classmate and his wife – from their wedding.  My beloved and I were dating at the time.   I can keep it together, I think, when I see my classmates (USMA 72).  But, when I see their wives who have known my wife for 40 years, I know I will lose it.  Hope I can grab back my composure fast.  I’ll need to do so.

It’s something about how I know the wives know and feel what I know and feel.   They knew her.  They lived lives like her.  Old soldiers know how to stone face.   Wives look me in the eyes and I melt.

I babysat three grandbabies tonight – alone for the first times since their Grandma died.   I cried several times – and told them that Papa just missed “Mom’ so much.

I can’t stop crying when I’m home alone – actually never alone cause I’m with the indwelling Holy Spirit – when it hits me like a ocean wave.  Then, I’m okay.  Then, another wave.   I miss her.   I am sad for what she wanted here and what we have still to live without her.   I grieve and mourn.

For 41 years I was hers.  She was mine.  She is gone.  I am here.  I don’t get it.

Five more weeks until her burial.  Lord Jesus Christ before us.  Christ behind us.  Christ beside us.  Christ in us.

February 1973

February 1973: Don’t take my picture!




  1. Jim, I am so deeply sorry for your loss! I just now read this and your words brought me to tears. I’m very sorry and my prayers are with you and your family for healing and peace.

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