Through grief’s darkest night, faith becomes the dawn that guides us to a new day. In this deeply moving episode, we sit down with James Price, a remarkable widower who opens his heart to share the profound story of his loss, healing, and newfound purpose. Life can be heartbreakingly unpredictable, and James knows this all too well. As he candidly recounts the devastating blow of losing his beloved wife, he takes us through the turbulent waves of grief and the weight of loneliness that followed. But this conversation isn’t just about despair; it’s about resilience, faith, and the extraordinary strength that emerges from adversity. James shares how God’s guiding hand helped him navigate the darkest hours and find hope amid despair. His faith in God’s keeping power became a beacon of light during his darkest days. Tune in to find hope in his words, discover the importance of faith, and learn how sharing your experiences can light the path for others seeking solace.
Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.
I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.
Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide
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Faith Tested, Faith Restored: The Remarkable Story Of A Widower Through Grief With James Price
Our guest is Minister James D. Price. He actually lost his wife the same year that Mark died. We connected, saw him on YouTube, and as you know, I am, unfortunately, always looking for men to be able to share their voices in this conversation. We talked for a long time, and that is the type of conversation I want you to have. I want my conversations with my guests to be like two people sitting in their front room talking about a shared experience so they can find encouragement. Let’s get into the conversation now.
Our guest is Minister James Price. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. I appreciate this. Thank you so much.
As with everybody else, I’m not a fan that we are having this conversation. You were in the Widowhood before we had this discussion, but now you are connecting with our community. James, where are you now?
I’m here in my home in Inkster, Michigan. It’s nice and hot outside. I got finished watering my grass and now I’m in here talking to you guys. I’m excited to be here.
You must be cool because that looks like a whole sweatshirt you have on right there.
It is a sweatshirt. I’m a huge sweatshirt fan. This is my rapper, actor/entrepreneur because I am an entrepreneur.
I have a small marketing business. I advertise online for small local businesses. They pay me a fee every single month for advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I do that for them. They pay me for that and I help bring them customers.
How did you get into that? Is that something you’ve done for a long time?
I got into it because I was looking at videos on YouTube and saw an ad for these two guys, probably around my age, talking about how anybody can do this. They do it and they make all this money. I said, “Whatever. Everybody says they make all this money.” I continued to skip the ad and look at the video I was trying to get to.
One day, I looked at the ad and said, “This might be something.” That’s why I decided to get into it. It cost me a lot of money to get into this program, but I did it and it paid off. I took the time to learn everything that I could learn about business and marketing because I wasn’t into marketing. I didn’t know much about it. I knew what the word meant, but I didn’t know much about actually getting into marketing. That’s what I do. It’s paying off. I’m grateful.
What did you do before this?
I was a Manager at Walmart. That’s a lot of work. It doesn’t seem like it may be a lot, but for people on the outside looking, not on the inside, we couldn’t understand how people can’t understand how much work we have to do because people will come in. Being a manager, I probably got cussed out at least once a day, sometimes more than that. People weren’t happy with certain things that were going on in the store. We all had these walkie-talkies. They would call me. They call me JP at work, and they would say, “JP, there’s a customer up here. They’re upset. They want to talk to a manager.”
I would say, “Where’s your team lead manager? They can take care of it.” They say, “No, they want to talk to someone above the team leads. They want to talk to a coach manager.” I would have to go up front and get cussed out. You expect to go for someone to not be happy with us not returning their item. If you don’t have the receipt, we cannot give you a full refund in cash. We have to put it on a gift card. You can only use the gift card in the store. People will be upset with that. I’m thinking it’s because they needed the money so they’ll be upset with that. It happens at times. We got used to it. It is what it is. That’s retail.
How did Minister Price reconcile with Walmart customers? How did that go?
The minister came in because what happened is, one day, maybe 6 months after my wife passed and 4 months after my third daughter passed, I was working on some videos because I felt that the Lord wanted me to do it, but I thought it was some crazy idea. I said, “No, this is me being crazy. I’m not supposed to help people. I need help myself. I need help dealing with this. Why would God want me to help others? I need help.”
What happened is I was looking at the gentleman’s YouTube channel. His name is Minister Barton Aaron Porter. I said, “I like his videos. I’m learning a lot.” I reached out to him and he has all these thousands of subscribers. I said, “There’s no way he’s going to respond or talk to me or help me.” Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. He reached out and talked to me, mentored me, and helped me a lot with my YouTube channel.
That’s when he started talking to me saying, “You’re a minister because we’re all ministers of Christ. We are all supposed to spread the gospel.” That’s exactly what I started to do. I prayed about it and I accepted that. That’s when I started calling myself Minister Price. I have a church home and I’m not a minister at church, but I do work in the ministry. That’s what I call myself on my YouTube channel because a lot of people, even at church, come to me and say they saw my video, it was good, and it’s good that I’m doing this and trying to help people. That’s my calling, to help others. I do appreciate the Lord using me to try to help as many people as I possibly can deal with the loss of a spouse because I understand all too well how tough it is to deal with that.
Thank you for clarifying that. I am so sorry for your wife and your third child who has died. In this situation where you were leaning in and trusting God, would you mind sharing a little bit about it before going into their death, who your wife was, your love story, and how you all met?
We met through my cousin. My cousin and my late wife were best of friends. They were college roommates at Eastern Michigan.
She had all the tea.
My family calls me DeAndre because that’s my middle name. My cousin was like, “DeAndre, what’s going on with you? Are you dating anyone?” Me being young, and I was in my mid-twenties, I’m like, “I don’t need help finding a girl. What are you talking about?” She was like, “I’m sure you don’t need help, but I got a young lady that I know. We’re best friends and I think you guys will be great together.” I said, “I’m not looking. I’m young, I’m a bachelor. I’m trying to live my life. “
I got my little one-bedroom apartment. I was excited. I’m a Manager at the Home Depot. I’m like, “I’m doing pretty good for myself.” She was like, “At least take her number.” I was like, “I’ll take her number and I’ll give her a call then at some point.” To make a long story shorter, I ended up giving her a call and we clicked right away. We talked on the phone for three weeks straight. It was even times when I said, “I have to get off this. I have to get up and go to work in the morning. I have to be at work at 6:00.”
It would be like 2:00 in the morning. She was like, “I have to get up at 6:00 as well,” because we both had to go to work. We would sleep probably around 2:00 because we were on the phone for so long. We talked on the phone like that for three weeks. We finally set up an opportunity for us to meet face-to-face. We finally met, and I even remember where we met. We met at the restaurant Chili’s.
I remember when I was in college, we would get the Big Tens with the nachos in there. That would be some of our stuffy food for the week. I’ve done some Chili’s.
We decided to meet at Chili’s. We went to Chili’s. At this time, we didn’t have FaceTime, so we could look and see each other. I just knew it was her. As soon as I walked in, I was like, “That’s her.” I didn’t know it at the time, but God was telling me, “That’s going to be your wife.” I’m thinking that’s just me thinking. I’m like, “I don’t even know this woman. What am I talking about?” That’s what I was thinking to myself. Later on, I realized it was God. I didn’t tell her that. I kept it cool.
That would’ve been creepy.
That would’ve been very creepy, so I kept it cool. I was like, “Jenica, I’m James.” She was like, “How are you doing?” We hugged and we talked and we sat down. She was there first. I wasn’t late. I was on time.
Good points because you don’t want to be late on the first meetup.
I was on time and I thought I would get there before her. She was there before me. We talked and we had a nice time. We had lunch because it was right after she got off work. We enjoyed our time. After that, something crazy happened. What she did was I scared her away because she saw that I had tattoos and I’m from Detroit. She thought I was like this hood guy. She’s used to guys in church because she grew up in the church. She’s used to guys in suits and ties and stuff like that. She thought she was like, “Hold on. I don’t know about this, but I like him. He’s a cool guy. I don’t know about this guy.” She saw I have a couple of tattoos that I got when I was younger. She was like, “I don’t know about this.”
We talked about it. We decided to back off from each other. I called my cousin and told her everything. She was like, “Something is not right. She’s a great girl. You are a great guy. I don’t know what’s going on.” Six months went past after I met her and we talked on the phone. I started talking to another young lady. One day, I got a phone call. I was so upset that she decided to back off so I erased her phone number out of my phone.
We have all done that. It’s like, “I’m going to scorch the Earth. You are out of here.”
I was like, “Forget her. It’s time to move on. I’m good. She’d go do her thing. I’ll do mine.”
“Back to mingling and mixing, I was good in the first place.”
That’s what I was thinking. One day, out of the blue, I got this phone call six months later. Once again, there was that voice that I didn’t realize was God at the time, because, like I said, I grew up going to church. Once I got older and I didn’t have to go, my mother couldn’t say, “You have to go.” I said, “I’m going to do my own thing. I’m good. I don’t have to go to church. I got my own apartment now,” but I was drawing closer. I was coming back to my roots of growing up in church, prayer, and trusting and believing in God.
It was that voice again, but I didn’t realize it at the time, said, “That’s Jenica.” I said, “What? Whatever.” I’m thinking it’s myself. I answered and I said, “Hello?” She was like, “How are you doing, James? Do you know who this is?” I knew it was her immediately. I was like, “Is this Rita?” Rita is my cousin who hooked us up. I had to play it off. She was like, “No, it’s Jenica.” I was like, “How are you doing?” We took it from there. It started back up. From there, we fell in love. What happened is she’s more of a traditional woman and I’m more of a street guy. I wasn’t a traditional man. I was a regular old Pete.
Let’s unpack what those words mean. When you say you’re a street guy and she was used to something else, what are the characteristics? How did that show up?
I was always a hard worker and someone who did the right thing. I would work. I wouldn’t do what some of my friends were doing. I had friends who were drug dealers doing stuff they shouldn’t have been doing. Even though they were my friends, I stayed away from that part of their lives. I didn’t allow that in my life. I knew that some of the things that they were doing were wrong. I understood because we were living, poor, and it was tough in the inner city of Detroit. I felt that it’s still a way you can work hard and you don’t have to do the same things that people before you did. You can still work hard and get out of that.
Even though a lot of my friends were like that, I couldn’t do that because I believed that God had his hands on me even when I didn’t realize it. Most of my friends ended up in prison. Some of them were murdered. I’m grateful that I didn’t fall into that same trap. She could recognize that as we talked. She thought I was the street guy. She saw my tattoos and I didn’t have on a suit. I thought I was nice. I had a nice little polo button-up. I was like, “I got my polo shirt on. I’m good.” To her, it was still like a street guy.
You bring up a good point. I’m from Chicago, the South side of the city. I can recognize and I can connect with the lifestyle that you’re talking about. Until you know it’s any different, you don’t realize what that looks like because that’s what you’re embedded in. Until you’re outside of that circumstance that you’re in with the same people and the same environment as you talk about, and you thought you came out correct, there’s a whole another level out there you didn’t even know exists because it wasn’t part of your world.
When I left and went to the military and traveled, that was an opportunity where I started to become exposed to the world outside of the South side of Chicago. I also experienced the same things as far as friends being killed and making choices that had rippling effects in life. Our dad was a police officer, so there was a lot of hard steering in regard to that as far as which way needed to go. It is something.
For me, what I’ve found, and I don’t know for you, after being brought up in the city, I can adjust easier to a more relaxed way of life than someone coming from that relaxed way to try to embed themself into that city environment. There are so many resilient type skills that you get from surviving a city that that doesn’t come any other way.
I remember I was talking to my late wife and I told her, “I grew up tough. My mother is a single mother. She had five kids she had to raise on her own. I’m the oldest and I have a different father from my siblings. What happened is that my siblings’ father was married to my mother, but he decided to leave. He never paid child support and never helped take care of my siblings. It was a tough time for my mother. She worked hard and busted her butt.” I was telling my late wife, “There was a time that my family’s water, lights, and gas were off at the same time.”
That was something she couldn’t relate to, even though she grew up in the city of Detroit as well. Her father worked for the city. He was a supervisor for the city, making six figures. He made good money. He was able to take care of all of them. They didn’t experience the things that I did, even though they lived in a nicer area and bigger houses. She didn’t experience that. They never wanted for anything. There’s some stuff she couldn’t relate to. Once I started telling her my story, she was blown away like, “I can’t believe it.” That’s when she started to see that even though I grew up in that environment, I wasn’t going to allow that environment to shape the type of man I am and will become.
Thank you for sharing that because so many times, people say you’re this type of person because of where you grew up. You may tell somebody where you grew up in Michigan and they automatically assume all these different things instead of taking the time to get to see who this person is as an individual. That must have changed your heart to see somebody seeing you transparent through everything else. Being a Black man in America, people automatically may have predisposed ideas about who you are instead of having the conversation.
It got rough for us in Detroit. My mom said, “I have to get my kids out of the City of Detroit,” because I was getting into trouble dealing with some of my friends. I would be with them and they would get into trouble. I would get into trouble as well. My mother said, “I got to get my kids out of here.” She packed us up and we moved to Livonia, Michigan. Livonia, Michigan is like the suburbs.
I don’t even know what that is. It’s like, “What?”
Livonia, Michigan, was probably 90% White at the time. What happened was a culture shock for me. Growing up in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, you look at TV and you see all these cartoons and all of these commercials and it’s all White kids. You say, “It’s going to be so much better in Livonia than it is in Detroit.” I’m going to be honest and transparent. You look at that and you say, “White people are so much nicer than Black people. They’re just so nice.” I’m looking at the TV and they’re all nice and happy on TV. I’m like, “It’s going to be way better in Livonia than in Detroit.” I was excited to be moving from Detroit to Livonia. It was a culture shock when I got there. I said, “This is much different than what I expected.” That’s when I discovered and learned about racism.
I wanted to pick that up a little bit, the power of what television can do in the perception. These particular people are nicer because of how they’re perceived on television. The narrative, unfortunately, for African-Americans always has a negative connotation to it. The spin is different. If they find you, they find the worst picture. The situation is always spun and you have to work harder.
Even sometimes, I think about the idea that the good guy is always dressed in white clothing and the bad guy is always dressed in black clothing. You grow up as a young Black person with those things resonating in the back of your mind. You have the positive coming from maybe somebody from church or someone in the neighborhood, but those other things you are constantly battling with.
As a young child, we have been manipulated by television, advertisements, or other different things to have this thought process. I want to say that because I don’t want somebody to go, “Why would they think that.” I cannot imagine most Black people growing up not having to work harder, struggle harder to present themselves better, and be seen for who they are versus what television will dictate that you are. It makes sense that you would think, “I’m going to go to where it’s nicer because the people are nicer.” They show them happier, so I could see that concept.
I was raised that people are people. Some people are nice, some people are bad. I never looked at race because I never had to. As I said, I grew up around all Black and Latino people because I was born in Southwest Detroit, where it’s mostly all Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican. I was only around people who looked like me.
My late husband was Caucasian. I’m not speaking from a racist perspective, whether it be an all-Black or all-White, but it’s things as you grow up that you see based on only being around one particular culture. Your horizons are broadened as you move or different things happen. Knocking down some pre-conceptions as far as who people are. Thank you for that part of the conversation.
Coming to Livonia was, like I said, a culture shock. I couldn’t see it coming, some of the stuff that happened to me while I was there. I remember having, in one of my classes, I think it was English, and we always had to read a book. Every week we read a book and the class and the teacher would go from desk to desk and everybody would have to read a paragraph or two or whatever. The books were always about the racist past and the South and stuff like that. These books would have the N-word in them.
This one young lady said, “Why are we doing this?” The teacher would say, “What are you talking about?” I was the only Black kid in the class. She would say, “Don’t you see James right here? Why are we saying this N-word? Don’t you think that’s offensive to him?” Some of the kids would agree with her. They were like, “It’s literature. We’re just reading. What are you talking about? I’m sure this doesn’t bother James.”
It did bother me. I wasn’t saying anything, but it did bother me. I didn’t say it did bother me until the teacher asked me. The teacher asked me, “Does this bother you? This is literature. I don’t see how it could, but I want to ask you, does it bother you?” I told her, “Yes, it does bother me.” She blew that off. She was like, “We’re going to keep reading. If it bothers you, you can go talk to your counselor to get you into another class or something.” I said, “Whatever.”
You bring up a good point. When you are the person who’s being victimized, it takes somebody else who is not in the same space with you to say something because the person who’s being victimized gets brushed off and someone will belittle how you feel. It took the people in your class who were not in that position to stand up and say something and be your voice. That is frustrating. As a young man, you’re stifling how you feel. If it wasn’t for someone else saying something in that space, it would not have been recognized. That still happens nowadays in situations and workplaces. If someone who’s not in the place that’s being victimized doesn’t say something, it will go unnoticed.
The young lady that said that she stood up for me, after class, I went to her and told her, “I appreciate what you did. You didn’t have to do that.” I knew even at my young age, I think I was like 14 or 15, maybe 16, I recognized that she would get backlash because of that eventually. I could see the division in the class. Half the class was with her, the other half wasn’t. Once I saw that, I said, “They’re going to give her a hard time for helping for saying that for me on my behalf.” It was little things like that that would happen.
I would get harassed by the police. Walking in the neighborhood, I would get harassed because we lived in apartment complexes. There was a school. If I crossed the street and crossed Eight Mile Road and walked all the way down through the neighborhood, there was a middle school. I would be there playing basketball because nobody played basketball out there in the suburbs. It was like nobody wanted to play basketball. I was like, “I’ll go play basketball.”
I kept seeing this older lady. She kept walking to her window, looking out the window. I saw her come to the window with her phone. She was pointed at me while she was talking. I said, “There’s this lady calling the police or something. Let me get out of here.” I started jogging to get back home because I knew that she was calling the police. Sure enough, she did call the police. The police swooped on me so fast and jumped out of the car, pulled their guns on me.
They were like, “Get down on the ground.” I’m like, “I didn’t do anything.” They were like, “Why are you running? What are you doing?” I was like, “I was at the school playing basketball.” I was so scared. I was like, “I’m about to die.” That’s what I was thinking. I told them, “I’m just playing basketball at the school.” They were like, “We got a call that there was a young Black teen trying to break into the school.” I said, “No, I was I was at the middle school, but I was playing basketball. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t talk to anybody.”
They patted me down. They said, “Do you have any drugs or weapons on you?” I’m like, “No. I’m a kid. Come on. I don’t have a beard or anything yet. I’m just a kid.” They were like, “Let me see your driver’s license.” I’m like, “I don’t even have a driver’s license. I don’t have anything. I’m probably as old as your child or something.” That was traumatizing to me when that happened. After that, it was like, “I want to leave this place. I want to go back to the hood. I want to go back to the inner city.”
Those are the types of stories you’re telling to your late wife. Now she’s starting to understand who you are and you let her into your past and things you’ve experienced. It’s not just, “I grew up in the hard part, but these are the things that happened to me that created this disposition.” How did it feel to let her in and tell her all those different things to tell her those things?
I’ve never talked to anyone about it. It was almost like therapy because I never talked to anyone about it. All this time, I kept that stuff to myself. Being able to talk to her about any and everything felt great. She would do the same for me because she would tell me some of the things she would go through and have been through in her life. By me opening up and telling her about some of the things that I’ve seen and done or been through, she felt comfortable opening up to me, she thought that it would change my perception of her.
Some of the things that she did when she was a kid, she said that she didn’t want to tell me because she thought it would change my perception of her. I would love her less. I said, “No way. I want our lines of communication to be open for you to come to me about any and everything. I don’t care about your past. I don’t care about any of that. Right now is what matters to me because right now is the only thing that’s promised to us. We can hope for tomorrow, but we don’t know if we’re going to make it there.”Right now is what matters because right now is the only thing that's promised to us. Click To Tweet
I remember reading in the Bible, in the book of James chapter 4, verses 14, 15, and 16, where God was telling James like, “Your life is not promised to you. You’re here for a moment. You don’t know what tomorrow holds. Your life is like a vapor. You can be here one moment and go on the next.” Instead of saying what we’re going to do, we should be saying, “If it’s the will of God, I’ll do this or I’ll do that.” I said, “Don’t ever worry about that. I’m never going to look down on you. I don’t care about anything except right now.” Our lines of communication were open and we were each other’s therapist. We held each other accountable for everything. We were in a good marriage.
How long did you date before it turned into a marriage? You dropped that word on us. You didn’t take us there.
We actually dated for two years. I grew close to her parents. I grew close to her siblings.
How did you ask her? How did that go?
She was a singer. She was a singer. She could sing. She loved Motown. She loved the Temptations and the Supremes and all of that. It was before our time, but she loved that music. Of course, we’re from Motown in Detroit and the Motown Museum is here. Her sister said, “James, you should propose at Motown.” I was like, “Let’s do it. Let’s do that.”
Everybody else knew about her.
She was the only one who didn’t know. I said, “Let’s do that.” I went to our pastor. We both were at the same church. I told him what I wanted to do. I said, “I want to propose in front of the family, her family, my family.” We all come together. We are always together, so she won’t even have a clue that I’m going to be proposing. He told me, “No, this should be more intimate. You should be more intimate with her instead of doing it in front of everybody.” I didn’t agree with him because I knew what I wanted to do, but I said okay.
That’s a whole conversation about don’t ask your pastor something if you don’t want to answer versus asking the question, you are going to take that. We’re going to skip right over there, but that’s a whole thing right there.
I was trying to hold on to protocol. I went and asked him and I said, “I’m never doing that again.” I listened and told my family and her family because they knew what I wanted to do. I said, “I talked to the pastor and he said, ‘No, let’s do it this way.’” some of my family was like, “Why would you listen to him? Just do it.” I said, “That’s the way we do it.” I went on and did it. I respected that. I set it up with her sister. I even think to set her off, give her no clue. I started a small argument in the car when we first got there just so she would have no clue. I was like, “I got to start an argument. I got to do something. I got to be in my feelings or something. I got to do something.” I started a little argument, so she was like, “Whatever,” like upset with me.
You got her a little salty.
She was a little salty towards me, but I knew. I was like, “It’s going to all going to work out.” What happened is the family, of course, they met up there. While we were walking through the museum, seeing all the sights and the sounds and seeing where The Temptations recorded My Girl and all, it was awesome. It was an awesome experience. Right before we came, we were in the bookstore to buy some memorabilia. I was like, “This is the time. I’m going to do it now,” because all of them are outside. They were texting me while we were there.
I was about to say if she had seen them, that would’ve been awkward. They were outside.
They were all outside in front of the museum. It was like 20 to 30 people or something like that. They were all out there. Her sister texted me, saying, “Everybody is here, so we’re all outside. We got balloons. We’re waiting on you guys.” I said, “Okay.” We got to the store. I said, “This is it.” I forgot exactly what I said or how I did it because I was so nervous. I was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. I did have the ring in my pocket and I was so nervous. She was buying something and she was talking to the cashier.
That’s when I said, “It’s time now.” I got on one knee and I pulled the ring out. Two of the other workers, you how women back up and cover their mouth, they did that. She looked at them and then she turned around and saw me. She was like, “Hold on, James. What are you doing?” She was hyperventilating. That’s when I pulled the ring out.
I’m telling you, I cannot remember exactly what I said, but I believe I said, “Jenica, I love you with all my heart. You are the woman that God made for me. I want you to say yes and be my wife. I want you to marry me and make me the happiest man on this Earth.” She was crying and she barely could get it out, but she was like, “Yes.” I’m like, “Yes. She said yes.” I was so nervous.
Were you nervous like you thought she wouldn’t say yes?
No. I knew she would say yes, but I was so nervous and in my mind, I wanted to say so much more than that. I was going to say all types of stuff. I was thinking before. Nothing would come out. I went with what I could remember.
“Will you marry me?” That needs to come at the end.
I was like, “Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on Earth?” I was able to get that out. She hugged me and she was excited. She kissed me and we went outside. Everybody was out there, right out there cheering, screaming, and hollering. Balloons and flowers everywhere. She was like, “What is going on?” She couldn’t believe it. They recorded everything. They put it on YouTube and everything. Everybody got to see it.
Is that on your page, on your channel, the videos? You have to get that.
It’s not on my page. It’s on my sister’s page. She tried to send it to me, but somehow they weren’t able to share it with me or something like that. It was an awesome experience to do that for her. We were together for two years. I tell a lot of my guy friends, “It is possible for a man to be attracted to a woman and be with her and not sleep with her until you get married,” because I told them, “We’re not doing anything.” Some of them were like, “That’s good. Good job.” Some of them couldn’t believe it like, “There’s no way,” because they knew me from my past. I was like, “No, I’m serious.” We did not sleep together. We did not do anything until we got married. It was tough. Don’t get me wrong, it was very challenging at times.
I wouldn’t even misconceive that. What I hear is the level of commitment. That’s what real intimacy looks like when you are laying your soul open to someone. They are seeing all aspects of you. When sex does come under the realm of marriage, the peace, joy, connection, and covenant that begins in that union is so beautiful that you cannot even conceive beforehand. That is a beautiful thing.
I couldn’t even comprehend how awesome it was going to be. We held on for those two years. We got married. I had a wonderful ten-year marriage. That’s not to say that I didn’t get on her last nerve and she didn’t get on mine.
If you said marriage, you said somebody got on somebody’s nerves.
I got on her last nerve all the time and she got on mine.
What marriage does is, “I’m not going anywhere.” What marriage does is it shows your children what a relationship looks like, communication skills, and how to fight fair and unfair. How to work through every challenge in life. When you say marriage, it’s that covenant and that relationship you have with that person. You’re putting each other first beyond anybody else and what that looks like. Nobody’s floating on clouds. There are good times, but there are also challenges.
When you look back, you go like, “We hung in here with each other.” People quit for many reasons. Sometimes they may quit because they don’t have the tenacity to stay in the long haul with the marriage and work things out. When people say 50/50, I’m like, “I don’t even know how that works.” a lot of times, it’s like 20/80. You’re putting that person before you and you’re there to make them happy. The goal is to have somebody else that’s doing the same for you, from my perspective.
I always say 100/100. You both want to put 100% of yourself into a marriage. I always look at it like this. If she ever had an issue, if anything was going on that she wasn’t happy about that I did, whether I agreed that I did anything or not, it was still a problem. We had to fix it because we’re individuals. I may look at something different than she did and vice versa. If I did something that I couldn’t even comprehend like, “I did nothing wrong, she’s totally wrong in this. I did nothing. I’m not apologizing. None of that.” I was not that type of guy.
I would say, “You’re upset. I did something to make you upset and let’s fix it right now.” I was always someone who’s like, “Let’s fix this. Let’s not wait. Let’s fix this now.” I’ll go there and find out exactly what I did and I would listen. There were times I wanted to jump in and say, “No, I didn’t mean it like that. You should know this. You should know what type of person I am,” but I would shut up and listen. I let her get everything out and then I would tell her my side and say, “I didn’t intend for it to sound like that,” or, “I didn’t intend to offend you and can you forgive me? I apologize for this.”
Doing it that way made things roll over so much more smoothly. There were times I did absolutely nothing. I know she got an attitude, but I know I didn’t do anything wrong. I would still get to the point where I said, “If she has a problem, then there’s a problem.” It doesn’t matter what I think, we have to try to fix this. That’s how we got through so many things. We would look at each other for some time and laugh. We would crack up laughing because I knew she was upset about something and I was upset about something. We would look at each other and we couldn’t even stay mad at each other. We’d start laughing and then it would work out.
Those are marriage tips right there. Those are good nuggets right there.
Neither one of us knew we weren’t going anywhere. If she never passed away, we would still be married.
Let’s go back to when Jenica passed, whatever you want to share with us about that.
What happened is our daughter was pretty much full-term. We were going to go to the hospital the next day. We thought that she was going to be coming soon, like any day now. We got with the doctor. We set up a time for her to come to induce her labor. She was ready to go. Jenica was saying, “I don’t feel her moving in my belly as much.” She has some concern about that. We went to the doctor and the doctor said, “I’m going to have you guys come back in a few days.” This same thing happened actually with our second daughter.
She wasn’t feeling her as much. That happened with Hannah, our first daughter. It happened with Aaliyah and then with our third daughter. What happened is we set up a time for her to go to the doctor, but she didn’t make it to that time. She was having some pain. She dropped me off at work and I went to work and then I got a call from her like, “I’m going to the hospital. I’m not doing very well.” I got a ride to the hospital. Once I got to the hospital, because, mind you, she wasn’t sick or anything.
She was healthy. It was another baby about to be born normal.
My friend had dropped me off at the hospital. He was like, “All right. Congratulations. I’ll talk to you later.” I jumped out of the car and was like, “Thanks.” I ran into the hospital and I got with the doctors and everything and they told me what was going on. They said, “Your daughter was stable and we are able to get her out of your wife’s womb, but unfortunately,” and when he said that, I was like, “Okay, hold on. What are you talking about?” He’s like, “We weren’t able to save your wife.” They caught me off guard.
You just ran into the hospital. You’re trying to find out where she is.
It caught me off guard like, “What do you mean?” I think I asked him that when he said, “We weren’t able to save your wife,” I said, “Hold on, what do you mean? You weren’t able to stabilize her? What are you talking about?” One doctor told me that. The other doctors were quiet. They didn’t want to talk to me about anything. The first doctor I talked to told me that they believed she had a heart attack right there on the table. I did learn that they said when a woman is giving birth, that’s the closest you think a woman comes to death without actually dying.
I had no idea of that until my wife and I was studying and reading about it and everything. I had no idea that it was that serious. She did tell me about that. They said that she had a heart attack right there on the table before they could even get our daughter out. She went several minutes without oxygen to her brain. She was born with brain damage. Physically she was healthy. She was in the womb. It was a good pregnancy. The whole time she was healthy. Once I got there, they told me that they were able to stabilize her.
They explained to me that she had brain damage because she went for several minutes without oxygen. Honestly, it may sound sad to some people, but I truly didn’t understand. I was ignorant of this. I thought that even if the mother wasn’t alive, the baby would still be okay because I was thinking, “The womb is a whole other compartment.” I didn’t realize that if the mother stops breathing, the baby can’t breathe. I did not know that. Some people might say, “How could you not know?” I truly didn’t know that. I thought that it was a whole other compartment for the baby to live in and the baby is healthy. That’s what I thought.
Also, James, you’re in shock. It’s coming fast in furious. You’re still trying to understand, “She’s dead. The baby,” and it’s a lot to come. The mind is not even thinking logically. In your mind, you’re thinking that happened. This is separate. It’s hard for someone who may have not experienced trauma to this level to understand how you go from being a high-functioning person to barely being able to put words together to make a sentence or have a full thought process. You’re like a zombie in your own body and need to make some of the most critical decisions right there. I can see how that thought process would come to be.
It was so hard to put all this together. I had so many thoughts coming to my mind and I said, “Hold on. Something is wrong. Something is going on. There’s no way she should be dead. Did they make a mistake? Did they do something? Did they give her something to do this or did they give her the wrong medicine?” I was thinking all of this stuff. What ended up happening was that they called the chaplain and the chaplain said, “Do you want to pray?” I had this bracelet on and this bracelet said the blood of Jesus in Hebrew.
The chaplain was like, “I know some Hebrew, but I’m not quite all the way up on it. What does that say on your bracelet?” I said, “The blood of Jesus.” He was like, “You’re religious?” I said, “Yes, I’m a Christian. I’m a follower of Christ.” He said, “Do you want to pray?” I said, “Yes, sure. You can pray.” What I did is after he prayed, I went on and asked everyone to leave the room. I said, “I want to sit here for a minute with her.” That’s exactly what I did.
I sat there and that’s when I tried to negotiate with God like, “I can’t do anything. She’s gone right now, but you have the power to bring her back. If you could do that for me, I would appreciate it. I don’t care what it is you tell me to do. I promise that I will do it. I won’t procrastinate. I’ll go straight to it. If you tell me to do something, if you bring her back, I will do whatever you ask me to do just for this, if you could do this for me.”
I sat there and waited for a minute and I was like, “Please, do this.” As you can tell, it didn’t happen. As I was sitting there, this is when I learned that peace is like a person, like a spirit or something. It felt like God was right there with me. I was in there because she looked like she was taking a nap. She looked like she was asleep. I felt this peace and this calmness like it was so real. It came over me. I had peace that day.
That very first day that this happened, I had peace and it changed my attitude. It changed my perception of everything. What I had to do was I had to call family and start letting them know. I had to call her parents and let them know. That was actually very tough for me. To call them, hear them in the background hollering and screaming and saying, “No. How could this happen?”
I called my family. It was very difficult to do that. That hurt me more than anything, to call all of them. When they got there, they said, “How are you so calm? What’s going on?” I said, “God gave me peace.” He truly did. He gave me peace that I couldn’t even understand at that time. The hardest part is I had to tell my daughters. I didn’t tell them until the next day. That might have been two days later because I didn’t know how to tell them. I said, “I don’t know what to do.”
I told my family when we were all in the lobby, “Nobody says anything about Jenica passing. Don’t say anything because my daughters weren’t even there yet. They were on the way.” I said, “Please don’t say anything about their mother passing. I want to tell them myself.” Everybody agreed to that. Nobody said anything. I took them upstairs so they could see their little sister. Of course, she was stabilized and I want them to see their little sister. They saw her and they were happy to see her. On the side, they had these little compartments where you could put your hands and those little rubber gloves you could touch her and stuff like that. They were able to do that.
We went home the next day and I believe it was another day after that. They were like, “Daddy, can we go to the hospital? When is Mommy coming home? I want to see Mommy and see her. When are they coming home?” I don’t want to get choked up right now, but that was tough because I said to myself, “I got to tell them. I have to.” I pulled both my daughters together and I said, “You guys, mommy is not going to come home. It was time for her to go to heaven. Mommy was a good person and she lived life according to God’s will.”
I told my daughters, “Mommy, her work was finished. It was time for her to go to heaven to be with the Almighty Heavenly Father. When our time is finished, we’ll be able to see her one day again. Right now, she’s in heaven.” When I explained that to them, it was difficult. It was difficult for them. My youngest was only four. She didn’t quite understand. As she got older, one day, she was looking at some of her mother’s pictures. She said, “Daddy, I’m about to cry.” I said, “Babe, what are you going to cry for? What’s going on?”
She was like, “I miss mommy.” I held her and we both were crying and I’m like, “Mommy’s in heaven. One day, we’ll see Mommy again. Right now, if you ask Mommy, ‘Would you come back here to this Earth?’ Mommy will say, ‘No, you are all right. You guys are taken care of. I’ll see you guys when you get here.’” that’s how I was able to explain that to them. As I said, I had to wait a couple of days before I could even tell them because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to tell them that their mother was not coming back. I remember calling my dad because my dad loved Jenica. I remember he told me, “Boy, if I was younger, I would’ve got her. This would’ve been my wife if I was younger.”
He loved her. It hurt him when he found out. He’s in Arkansas, but he said, “Son, if you need to talk, if you need anything, you let me know. I’m here for you.” It was a very difficult time. I believe I told you when we talked previous to this, it was a cold winter night. I actually wanted to scream. I went outside and I was going to let out this huge scream. I said, “No, my daughters will hear me there inside.”
I wanted to keep it cool for my daughters. The Lord showed me them in my mind. I said, “I have to be strong for them. They are my why. My driving force is them.” I used to be 360 pounds. I was huge. I was unhealthy. I was eating like a pig. I was out of shape. I remember my wife used to get on me like, “James, we got to get you in shape.” She used to be all over me. She still was stuck with my unhealthy behind through all. She still stuck with me. It helped me think about them. I said, “Their mother is in heaven. I don’t want to be in heaven right now. I want to be here with them. I want to take care of them.” That’s what helped me on my journey to lose weight. It was a driving force.
Thank you for sharing that. Can I jump in with a couple of questions, James?
You had the gift from God of having peace instantly in the most horrific situation in your entire life. Your ability to trust God and to lean into and know he has you is already in the foundation that he gave you that peace. The reality is your wife has died. That God of peace that surpasses all understanding stepped in a way where you needed it most. Your ability to lean in and trust God was easier. What would you say to the person who didn’t instantly get that peace and they’re in the situation, the death of a loved one? How do they manage that?
What I would say to them is you have to accept the reality first. You have to accept the reality that your loved one is no longer here. After you accept that and realize that’s the life that you’re into now, if you desire to get through this, if you desire to have a relationship with God for him to comfort you, to get some answers as to why this happened. Once you realize that your life has changed, I think once you realize that you can get to the point where you say, “My life has changed. My spouse is gone. There’s nothing that I can do about that,” that’s when you can say, “Father, I’m not the perfect Christian or the perfect believer, but can you help me get through this? I need your help.”
I would recommend anyone to draw closer to God because it seems like we as human beings draw closest to God in the most extreme circumstances. The toughest, most trying times in our lives are when we want to draw closer to God. That’s exactly what happened to me. I’m grateful that I did have a relationship with God before this.For whatever reason, we, as human beings, draw closest to God in the most extreme circumstances, the toughest and most trying times in our lives. Click To Tweet
I had another friend who lost his wife a couple of years after I lost my wife. My wife and his wife were friends. They grew up together. That’s how I knew him. His wife passed away a couple of years later. He told me, “I don’t know how you do it.” He turned to alcohol. He was drinking. I told him, “No, that won’t help you. That’s a temporary fix. You need something that’s more sustainable and that you can actually live with. What I suggest is that you draw closer to God. You pray and you ask him to help you because that’s the only way that you’re going to get through this. You can’t try to fix it on your own.”
“You can talk to people, get all types of advice like you’re talking to me now, but ultimately, you need some spiritual help. You need the Almighty God to lay his hands on you and help you get through this time because I have no idea where I would be if I didn’t make that choice.” I had two choices. I could have drawn further or closer to God and I chose to draw closer. I’m so grateful that I did. Also, I would tell them, “Find out why you’re still here,” especially if you have kids.
It’s easy if you have kids. If you have kids and you love those children, you can use that as an anchor for you to stay still and trust God. He got you here for a reason. I believe that none of us are here by accident. God said, “I was supposed to take him out of his life a couple of months ago. I forgot about him.” I don’t believe that. I believe that you are here for a reason.
Find out the reason. Find out why, and you and you live for that. My kids are my why. That’s why I got up every day. I didn’t give up. I worked out. They were like the driving force behind me being a better man. I said, “I have to be a better man. I have to be an example of what a man is for them. I want to be a strong masculine man, but not too hard because I want to show them what a man is and when they are young women, not to settle.” I want them to use me as an example like, “My dad was a hard worker. My dad would never hit my mother. My dad would never cuss my mom out. My dad would never say that or do that. My dad would open the door.”
I want them to understand that because I told my daughter, “When you turn thirteen, I’m going to take you on your first date. I’m going to take you on a daddy-daughter date and I’m going to make sure I open the door for you and take you to wherever you want to go. You can eat whatever you want,” because I want them to understand what a man is. Their mother was an amazing woman. She was amazing. She was a great example for them. I made it my business to always help them understand what type of mother they had, even though they were very young when she passed away. When she died, they were very young, especially Aaliyah. She was only four.
I got that dinner coming up for her soon. I’m grateful that God gave me them because they are the reason that gave me something to push forward to, to look forward to. That gave me a reason why I’m still here. I would always recommend finding out your why. Come to grips with the change in your life that your spouse is going through and seek the face of God.
Ask him to help you get through this tough time and recognize why you are still here. Get yourself a why. That’s what they say in the professional world and work. What is your why? That’s so true. You have to have a why. Why are you still doing what you do? Why do you want to do what you want to do? Why do you need to do what you do? You have to find that. I would recommend that to anyone.
That was a very good explanation. Just to be able to have to chew on. One thing in particular, I like that you said accept. You didn’t say be happy. You didn’t say be all these other things that are totally unreasonable. To accept the reality of this situation is the first place to say, “I have to deal with this. This has happened. The negotiation is over. I can’t change any of this. What do I do now?” I’m also glad that you express how difficult that is to do even in the peace that you have from God because sometimes people give religious one-liners to people who have no substance in that particular moment when they are actively grieving.
Accepting that and for someone to know that that’s all you can do at that moment, get enough energy to accept it, and then move on to try to figure out what is my why and your purpose because you are still alive. That can be difficult, the reality of your existence outside of your spouse, in trying to determine what life looks like for me in their absence. A couple of things I’m curious about. What has been your effort in keeping your wife’s memory alive for her children?
I remember for the first three years, we still got a cake for her on her birthday. We sang Happy Birthday. I got to the point when I said, “We can’t do this forever.” I asked my daughters how they felt about this and I told them, “I think we’re going to stop doing this. We’re not going to do this every year.” I wanted to see what they were thinking because I learned through this whole process that kids are much stronger than we give them credit for. I’m telling you, they were stronger than I ever could imagine. I was blown away. These kids are strong. They were dealing with this like troopers. This is amazing.Kids are much stronger than we give them credit for. Click To Tweet
I talked to them, both my daughters. My oldest, Hannah, is a very intelligent young lady. I love my baby girl. She’s so intelligent. Aaliyah, I love my baby girl. She’s intelligent as well. Hannah wears her glasses. She’s like the prototypical, when I was a kid, we called nerds because they got their glasses. She’s not a nerd. She’s very intelligent.
I was like, “How do you feel about this? Do you want to continue to do this?” She said, “I think I’m over this now. I think I’m over it. I used to always think about mommy all the time, but now I’m getting over it. I don’t think about mommy all the time. Some days, I think about her. Some days, I don’t.” I said, “That’s good because we can’t stay in this. We got to get through it because life is changing. Life will change.”
My youngest daughter, Aaliyah, echoed what her sister was saying. I wasn’t sure if she was echoing what Hannah said or if she felt that way, but I believe she felt the same way. I said, “I came to the conclusion. We’re going to stop doing this every single year because your mommy has moved on. She’s in heaven. She’s happy in heaven. That’s what our faith is.” Of course, nobody can say, “I know for 100% sure what happens when you die.”
That’s why we call it faith. I have faith that she is in heaven. I have faith that she’s happy. I have faith that my third daughter, Sarah, is there with her mother and happy. I 100% believe that. I told them that and I explained that to them. They were they were happy about it. This is what they wanted. Her family, every single year, wants to go to dinner. They want to say happy birthday. They want to cry and all of this stuff. Her parents are different. Her parents are like me and the girls. They are trying to move forward. My late wife and her sisters are mad.
“Why are you guys trying to move forward? We need to mourn this every year, year after year.” I was explaining to them like, “We got to move forward. We have to. We can’t stay in this because life changes.” That’s something that I tell people that reach out to me from my YouTube channel. I tell them, “You may not be able to see it right now because you’re fresh in this. This just happened to you. You’re reaching out to me because I’ve been through what you are going through. I’ve heard this before, but I’ve thought it was crap. Someone told me that time does heal all wounds.” I believe that now because I realize losing a spouse does get better over time.
It’s not like you’re not going to get through it in a couple of weeks or a couple of months. As the years go by, it does heal your heart. You recognize that this person is gone. I have faith that they’re better off now than when they were here. It’s time for me to live my life. I have to move on. I talked to my late wife about this actually before she passed, when she was still alive. We talked about our futures if one of us passed away. Being the man, the husband, the husband never thinks that his wife is going to pass before he does.
As a man, we always think we’re the protectors. We’re a provider. We’re the leaders in our household. We have to make sure our kids are set up, our wife is set up. That’s how we think as men. I said, “I have to make sure that they’re good. Forget me. I don’t care about me. I want to make sure that they’re good.” I never imagined that it would happen the other way around.
My wife, I had to talk with her. I said to her, “We got insurance. I got insurance through my job. If something happens to me, this is how much you guys will get. This should be a blessing to you. If something happens to me, you’re still young. You guys will be taken care of financially. I want you to move on with your life. I don’t want you to mourn me for the rest of your life. I could see you mourning me, but shortly after, move on and I’ll be in heaven.”
I was telling her all of this stuff. She said the same thing. She was like, “If I pass away, I want you to move on. I want you to get remarried. I want you to be happy and not to sit up and mourn.” At first, she said that I told her that’s what I wanted to do. The Jenica humor, she was like, “You would want me to do that?” I was like, “Yes, of course. Move on and get remarried.” She was like, “You better never get married. You better mourn me for the rest of your life. No, I’m just joking. Of course. That’s what I want for you as well. I want you to move on and get remarried and have a happy life.”
I told her that I would only want her to make sure that you let my daughters know how much I love them and I would do anything for them. She told me the same thing. She said, “You let my girls know the type of woman that I was, how much I love them, and how I would give anything for them. As long as you do that, we’ll be good.” I feel that my daughter’s, that’s her legacy. Them.
I will let them know every chance I get how awesome of a mother they had and how she truly was dedicated to her family, how she was truly dedicated to her faith, her faith in Jesus Christ, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. She was truly dedicated and because of her dedication, that helped me draw closer to God. I’m very grateful for that. As I said, she was a singer. She was she would be singing for people like Fred Hammond and all of them singing for them. It was like she had this light. She had such light that was shining. I want to keep that. I want my daughters to understand that she was a great woman and she was a great example to them of who a woman should be and how a mother should be.
I’m grateful for the ten years that we had. I remember after she passed, I was having a very difficult time. This was about maybe six months. This was one that I was having one of those moments where I was crying like crazy. I took my daughters to school and I came home and I was letting it all out. Letting it all go. Crying and screaming and hollering. My neighbors probably could hear me. I was having one of those moments and I said, “Father, if you could help me out and take my desire away to another woman, I’d be happy. I had ten years. I’m almost 40. I’m good. Those ten years were good enough for me. If you could take that desire away and I never get married again, I’ll be happy.” The moment it left my mouth, I knew that was foolishness.
He said, “Never mind.” I’m going to let you move on to that. We are going to go back to a couple of things. You got me all off target. I wrote down a couple of notes. I love, and I don’t use that word haphazardly, that you allowed your Aaliyah and Hannah to communicate what they wanted. Many times, people don’t recognize a child’s needs. Instead of you assuming we’re going to stop doing this and move to this, you said, “Hannah and Aaliyah, what do you want? This is your mom. We’re in this together.” Sometimes, it’s so hard. Grief, the loss of a spouse and a parent, is devastating. Many times, we want to do things. You’re in it as a family unit. I hope that someone picks up on that. It may be hard to have that conversation with their child but to ask them, communicate with them, and see what their desires are.
I wanted to circle back to that other thing you talked about. My children were adults when Mark passed. When you have young children, even though you communicate with them, you also allow space for your grief to happen and outside of their presence because being a daddy to them and father to them is different than you missing the love of your life. You needed time to do that.
I’ve heard people, like you said, outside, like they may hear that, maybe not there, but when they went to school, when you were home, maybe in a car. I’ve heard people in the shower. You cannot prevent yourself from grieving and dealing with your emotions in this loss because if not, it will spill out to drinking or other things that will hurt you. That pain has to leave. Just like we received the love, their absence has to be honored.
Something else you said that is very difficult is when people grieve differently, they want you to grieve how they’re grieving. We have to learn to respect each person’s grief process and not dictate that theirs has to show up the way that another person does. As far as between the family members, this is not the package you want. You wanted the package where we grow old and we close our eyes at 90 and hold our hands and slip off into eternity but that’s not what you got dealt.
It is hard to manage when people are so passionate, so adamant about the death of a loved one and the way that you’re handling it is different. That can rip people apart. Families can be destroyed. It is important to be able to respect how someone’s grief is different than yours. It can be hard. Any recommendations for people dealing with that? One person wants them to grieve this way and they’re doing that. What are some ways that you found to manage that or anything to talk about that?
I suggest communication. I suggest maybe having a sit-down and airing it out. Everyone let it out. You allow everyone to have their moment. Let everyone talk. You guys sit there and you take mental notes if you don’t want to write down actual notes. You learn why you feel this way, why you do what you do, and why you feel the way you feel. That’s actually happening with my late wife’s family right now. Her parents want to move forward. They’re very, I guess you could say, religious as well. They’re into the Lord. They love and they serve at their church.
Sometimes, when I hear religion, I feel like somebody puts maybe a facade of this religious connotation. When I’m hearing what you’re talking about as you speak about God or other people, it’s a relationship with your creator.
That’s exactly what it is, a relationship, because I know in my heart that if I didn’t have a relationship from the start before this happened, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. It took a relationship that I had before this for me to even make a choice because I knew that I had to make one choice, either draw closer or draw further. I chose to draw closer. I knew I had to do that.
It’s like that why on the road. Some choices may be like, “When I’m trying to go to one place, if I take this, I’m never going to get there because I have no support. I’m in this heavy place. I’m in this place of no recovery, or I’m going to guide towards it. Even though it’s hard, each step is very difficult, I know I have a better chance of success making that.” That was a huge decision. To be mad and be all these things, or I accept and how do we deal with this? That’s a huge turning point.
I was talking to my father-in-law. He was expressing that to me. I’m like, “It’s tough that you guys are having to deal with this.” That’s what I suggested to him. I said, “Maybe you guys should have a sit-down and talk and let all of this air out. Learn why they feel the way that they feel. Why do they feel that you are being insensitive?” It’s like they want you to continue to mourn. They want you to stay sad. They don’t want you to move forward. That’s how he feels.
Mourning looks differently. You’ll always mourn her. They’ll always mourn their daughter. I’m going to ducktail into something you mentioned. I’m challenged to unpack this a little bit more. The idea that time heals wounds or what we do during that time that the wounds are healed, I’m coming to believe that letting time elapse doesn’t do anything.
As time goes on, the active choices that you’ve made in this grief process create the space for healing because someone that time elapsed and they’re drinking and upset and doing drugs. They’re muting. They’re never talking about this person. That ten years can go by where this other person, they’re talking, they’re opening up, and they’re actively partying. I don’t know if those ten years equate to equal to healing. What would you say looking at it that way?
That is exactly right. That helped me better understand that comment I made because what you do with that time healing, the wounds is what you do with that time. It will determine if and how fast you get through this. You are 100% correct. That is 100% truth. That will determine how fast you get through something. It’s not a race. You’re not in this to, “I got to get through it at this time in my life.”
We wish there was a fast button to get past.
I would’ve hit that years ago. It is what you do with that time. What matters is what you do with that time. You don’t want to turn to drugs or alcohol. I had a friend. He turned to that, that’s what he did.What really matters is what you do with that time. Click To Tweet
The pain is so heavy and we’re trying to numb it. You don’t want to experience it. If you can have something that will take the edge off and I am not mad at nobody. I talk about when my husband died, my mother handed me her first whiskey sour. I was like, “It’s bad.” My liver can’t live like that forever. That shock, you need to learn how to manage that. If you stay there on that long path, there are repercussions in this body that cannot handle.
I wanted to talk about the time thing because I know sometimes, if we make a statement and we don’t unpack it, somebody will think, ten years have gone by and it is still as horrible as it was the day it happened. I would encourage them, like you’re doing, to talk about it. Sometimes it seems too painful to talk about it, but it helps more than people can ever realize. Did you connect with other widows or widowers before you did the YouTube thing? How did that come about for you?
No, I didn’t connect with anyone. I tell you, doing the YouTube and people reaching out to me and telling me their stories has helped me tremendously. I would tell them. I said, “Talking to you helped me and you. You wanting advice from me is helping me get through this.” It’s like having someone to talk to is essential, in my opinion, to be able to get through a very tough time. Losing a spouse is big because I had people that reached out to me and they would tell me, “I look at your videos. I haven’t lost a spouse, but we went through a divorce and it almost feels like I lost that spouse because my husband left or my wife left.” I never looked at it like that. I looked at it like you have to feel the way I feel. You have to have lost your spouse.
That changed my perception a little bit. I could see where they were coming from. I thought about it. I said, “I guess that would feel like a death because that person left you. They don’t ever want to be with you.” I have a young woman who reached out to me and told me that her husband left her with the kids and everything. He doesn’t want to be with her. He doesn’t want to be with the kids. He just wants to start over with his life. I’m like, “That is horrible.” I felt horrible for that woman. I prayed for her. I didn’t know what to say. What do you say about something like that?
You find out in this journey the death of grief in so many different ways. We may have been introduced to it by the death of our spouse, but you make a solid point. The reality of grief is impacted in so many different ways that one would not have ever understood. It makes you have a little bit more understanding of people and their hardships than you would’ve ever had before this experience.
I feel as if that’s something that I’ve taken away with that I didn’t have at a level that was before. I know we’ve talked a lot and I feel like it’s a good conversation. When people reach out to you, how does that work? Do they message on your YouTube, email you directly, or Facebook? What are different ways to connect with you?
They’ll email me because I try to remind people here and there on my videos. I’ll put my personal email in a description. I let them know, “If you guys have any questions or any concerns, you want to reach out to me. My personal email is right underneath this video in the description. Reach out to me, send me a message, and give me a couple of days and I’ll try my best to get back to you.”
What is your email address?
I know this has been a lot of conversation. On your YouTube, is it a monologue where you’re talking or do you have other people that you’re speaking with? How have you done it so far?
No, it’s just me talking. That has been suggested to me. “Have you ever reached out to other YouTubers or other subscribers, just anybody to see if they want to come on with you?” I have not done that. I want to do that. I was supposed to have a guest one time, but it fell through. It didn’t happen. That’s something I’m looking forward to doing. I can have you on.
Thank you. A couple more questions. If you were to pick any time in your life and you could go back and talk to James, what age or era would it be and what would you tell him?
During my marriage. I would tell him to always be patient with himself and with others. There’s always a different point of view besides your own. I was prideful. Even to this day, I don’t like listening to people. I don’t want anybody to tell me what to do. I want to make all the decisions and control everything. That’s not a good way to be. You can’t be that way because there’s always someone who knows more than you. There’s always someone who could help you if you open yourself up to it. I’m learning that. I would, during my marriage, go back and tell him to be patient and understand that there’s more than how you see things. You have to see things through other people’s eyes at times. You have to do that. That’s the advice I would give. That would have helped me a lot if I heard that years ago.
I said two more questions, but as you were speaking, I forgot about one other. The second part of my ending question is what gives you joy?
My children, honestly. That gives me joy. I’m a playful dad. I make jokes with them. I think they enjoy that. I know that they’re getting older and probably won’t even have anything to do with me as they get older. That’s fine. I understand. I know it’s coming because I have girls and they’re going to be dealing with boys and all that type of stuff but that does bring me joy.
It brings me joy to know that my hard work is taking care of them. It gives me joy to know that they have a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and shoes on their feet. They have food in their belly. They have a place to lay their head when they sleep at night and don’t have to worry. That brings me joy. It’s like, “I’m doing something right because my daughters, my babies, they’re okay.” That brings me all the joy in the world.
You have created a different life for your children than you grew up in, which sounds very important. I want to go back to the commercial break that you made. You were praying and you told God. I almost forgot to come back to that. Does that mean you’re open to a relationship or doing something when you pray that? What does that stand for you? What does life look like going forward?
I’m actually dating a young woman now. There were some women coming at me.
They come strong. They’ll be like, “Somebody’s available.”
I’m like, “You guys got me feeling like I’m like Usher or somebody. What’s going on? You all come to me like I’m a celebrity or something.”
They’re like, “He’s put together. He’s out here talking. He’s looking right. He got a little job. I see me with that.”
That’s what they were. I remember my pastor called me. He was like, “I want to want to meet with you. If you can come to the church, let’s have a meeting.” I arranged for us to get to with my job. I went out there and met with him. We had a meeting and he was asking me, “Do you know that you’re going to be a hot commodity?” I knew what he was talking about but said, “No, not me.” I didn’t say this to him, but in my mind, I’m thinking, “Sure. People know I was married and that’d be a whole mess.”
Now they’re bringing over the pudding and the pies and the cakes and like, “Brother, how are you doing?”
That’s exactly what happened. He told me, “No, they’re going to be coming. I’m telling you now, I’ve seen it time after time. They are definitely going to be coming.” Sure enough, he was right. They were coming and I wasn’t ready at the time. Maybe about 3 or 4 women were coming with everything they had.
Are you trying to say aggressive?
Exactly. They were pretty aggressive. I’m telling them like, “I’m not ready. Maybe if you give me some time, we’ll see, but not right now.”
How soon did somebody start coming?
Probably about six months. I remember talking to my brother about that and he was like, “They probably looked at you in a certain way before your wife passed.”
I guess so. You don’t want to think about that. It’s like, “I know.”
Yes, because I thought about that. He might be right. I don’t know. I would feel uncomfortable personally if I were in there sitting in their shoes. Even if I thought the person was attractive and it would be cool to be with that person, there’s no way I could bring myself to the point where I would say, “I’m going to shoot my shot and see what happens.”
Not in six months. How has it been dating? What does that look like for you? How did you know you were ready?
I actually didn’t know I was ready yet. One day, I saw this young lady and she goes to the church. She knew my wife. They weren’t close, but she still knew her. I saw her one day and I said, “I never noticed her before. She’s nice looking.” She’s like a genuine person because she serves at the church like I do. We pretty much serve in the same capacity. When I saw her, I said, “No, I’m not ready.” That’s the devil trying to mess me up. The devil is a liar. That’s what I was saying. I like, “It’s no way I’m ready.” I blew it off and kept on living life. Maybe a couple of months later, I looked at her again and I’m like, “Hold on. What’s going on? I’m going to let her know.” I stepped to her and let her know.
You shot your shot.
She’s like, “Are you serious?” I was like, “Yes.” She was like, “This is catching me off guard. I had no idea.” I was like, “I didn’t either, but it is what it is.” She was like, “Maybe we can hang out some time. Go on some dates and get to know each other. We’ll see what happens.” It gave me some confidence like,” I got this. I still got it.”
We’re exclusively dating each other. We’re getting to know each other. We’re becoming friends. I know that she’s the one because she said that I heard from God regarding her and she told me the same thing. She said, “The only reason we’re still doing this is because I heard from God.” I got on her nerve one day and I can’t even remember what. I know she was upset with me about something. I was like, “This is like marriage.” When you are in a marriage, you’re going to get on your spouse’s nerves. There’s no way around that because you’re an individual. That’s what’s going to happen. I was like, “This is cool.” I was apologizing. I sent flowers to her like, “I apologize. I was wrong. My bad.” I think I assumed something and I was totally off. She was upset.
You came with a good cleanup.
I sent three dozen candies, some flowers, and a bear. She texted me back and was like, “I got your flowers. Thank you.” She went on and accepted my apology. We are getting closer and so I’m thinking probably we may maybe get married. We’ll see.
It’s beautiful because I love the reality that like you have space to love Hannah and Aaliyah, we also have space to love again and continue to do that. That is beautiful. I’m excited for you. I shared with you when we spoke that I got remarried in February 2023. My late husband and I were together for 32 years. You spent 32 years with somebody, how can I even imagine somebody else? It was so organic and so easy.
One other thing I want to ask and then we’re going to wrap up for real. You spoke about something about planning that you and your late wife had a plan. Not if something happened, but that inevitable that one of us will not be here. What recommendation or planning did you make? People don’t always have a GoFundMe for a funeral. If we do some planning, life insurance, little things. It doesn’t have to be horrific. No one has to walk away as a millionaire. There are some things that we can do to protect our loved ones in the inevitability of our passing. What would you say or recommend for that?
I would definitely recommend life insurance. You can get life insurance for as little as $10,000 to cover funeral expenses because that’s literally how much it costs.
I’ll say yes. It depends on how elaborate what you’re doing but $10,000 gets you in the door.
I would recommend that for people because, unfortunately, in our community, our people haven’t caught on. Life insurance is very important. That’s a way that you can even leave something for your family. If you leave, if your spouse or your wife leaves, at least you can leave something for your kids. I told you about how my wife wanted us to have life insurance and both of us have life insurance. I kept blowing it off, like we’ll sit down and we’ll go over it. She got tired of me blowing it off and she got it. She went on and got the life insurance. I’m so grateful that she did that because I dropped the ball on that.Life insurance is very important, and you can even leave something for your family. Click To Tweet
I definitely would recommend that people get life insurance. Money is not everything, but we need money. It’s very essential for you to live in this life. Things cost. You can’t live for free unless you’re like a kid or something. You can live for free then. As an adult, you have a lot of responsibilities and it costs money. To bury someone costs money. You want to make sure that if you have life insurance, you’re able to bury that person and honor them in the way that they deserve. You also will be able to take care of some other things that you may have to take care of because you are already dealing with enough of losing that person.
You don’t want to have to deal with financial hardship as well. You should want your family to have to go get a GoFundMe to pay for your funeral. You shouldn’t even want that. I definitely would recommend getting life insurance because I was so grateful that my wife stepped over me and she was like, “I’m going to get this because you keep playing.” She got that life insurance because that was a blessing to my daughters and I.
You go from 2 incomes to 1. You still have the same life, a style that existed, and trying to manage that. People are challenged to hear your grief, let alone your grief and economic struggles together. Thank you. I am so honored that you allowed me to be able to have this conversation and share your journey. I will allow you to wrap up. Maybe there are some things you thought you wanted to talk about that maybe we didn’t go over or closing comments. You can close us out.
I’m honored to even be talking to you right now. I’m grateful that you allowed me this opportunity. One of the things I do want to say is a lot of people reached out to me who lost their spouse and they say that they want to hear from me and learn from some of the things that I’ve been through. They said they have family members who are coming to them and telling them what they should be thinking and what they should be doing.
These family members never lost their spouses. They’re not even married, but they’re trying to tell them what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. They’d rather hear from someone who has gone through what they’re dealing with right now. I suggest that. Don’t beat your family members down if they are trying to tell you what you should be doing.
They love you, so they want you to get better and understand that. It is good to have someone you can talk to who’s been through what you’re going through. That’s why I’m grateful that you allowed me to do this. I gave people my email address. Reach out to me and I will help anybody that I can. Some people reached out to me and I gave a couple of people my actual phone number. We would talk and I would help them as much as I can. I learned that I couldn’t do that with everyone because there were some women that I was trying to help who were trying to get on.
They were trying to shoot that shot. You were just trying to be some help and they were trying to help themselves.
That did catch me off guard. That almost had me to the point where I said, “I’m done helping.”
I’m so glad that didn’t derail you.
I said, “I’m done. I’m not going to even help anybody.” I’m genuinely caring about people and I want them to get better because I know what it’s like. Derailed, that’s the perfect word. That almost derailed me trying to help people. I stuck with it and I didn’t let that stop me because it happened twice. I’m grateful. I’m grateful for this opportunity. Thank you for allowing this to happen and you’ve been through everything that I’ve been through, so you know what it’s like. Thank you for starting this show, starting your foundation and everything. I commend you for that.
Thank you. What is your YouTube channel and on Facebook?
You can type in Minister James Price. I should pop up as soon as you type that in. You’ll be able to see some of my videos, like my older videos. They get a lot of views. I get so many comments from the older stuff that I forgot and I even made it. I’m like, “What, 1,000 people look at that video? That’s crazy.”
It’s not because those were the very genesis of your walk and there are not a lot of men out giving themselves to this conversation and people to be able to resonate with that. That means a lot.
Check me out. Anybody can look at it, look at the older and newer videos and I pray that it’s a blessing to everybody.
No problem. Thank you for having me.
That was a good conversation. James did not hold anything back. There are so many good nuggets in there that I know you will find encouraging. I am sorry for the person who has died that drew you to be connected with us, but I am glad that you are part of the Widowhood. I know that your story is pretty interesting also, so please email me at WidowhoodRealTalk@Gmail.com. I want to share your journey. I want to encourage you. Check us out. Talk to you soon.
- James D. Price
- YouTube – Minister James Price
- Minister James Price – Facebook
About James Price
I became a widower on 11/20/2017 when I lost my wife of 10 years while giving birth to our 3rd child. Because our daughter (Sarah) went several minutes without oxygen, she was born with tremendous brain damage and passed away two months later (01/06/2018).
Because of this regrettable circumstance, I was left as a single Dad of two young daughters, Hannah & and Aliyah (4 & and 7 years old at the time). This was the worst time of my life, and I wanted to give up on EVERYTHING, but God Almighty kept me through it all, and I drew closer to Him and dedicated my life to doing His will. God led me to make videos to “Encourage and Inspire” people who have been through loss as I have, so I created a YouTube channel and started doing that.
When people reach out to me from not just America but other parts of the world and tell me how my videos help them get through, I know that I genuinely did hear from God, and I’m living in my purpose.