From My Brother’s Perspective


“Rob, how do you feel about this love story of your sister’s? How do you feel about all of this?”

“Well, I got two phone calls. On the first one, she said, ‘Let me tell you about this guy I met, because I really like him.’ And on the second call, she said, ‘So, I got engaged this morning!’ It all happened pretty fast, but that’s how things are for my sister. She moves fast.

“It’s always been true of her—throughout her entire life. When she was a year old, my parents waited forever for her to start walking, but when she did, she took 37 steps. She waited until she was sure, and then she took off. The same process is true of all her major decisions, how she learned to ride a bike, how she chose a college, how she buys cars and houses. She doesn’t fail at things because she doesn’t move until she’s equally sure this is what she wants and that this will go as she has planned.

“So, I’m not worried about it at all. And believe me, I love Peter. I can see why she does.

“With all change comes loss. Loss of time. Loss of control. Loss of power. Loss of options. Loss of consistency. Loss of relationship. Change is never the problem. It’s the loss that comes with change that most of us don’t like.

“I’ve spent the last five years getting used to my sister’s new normal. She changed so much after Robb died, and we all had to learn her quiet, reserved introverted side. I learned how to be with her, how to talk to her, the patterns of what we talk about and what we don’t talk about, what makes her laugh and what will never be funny. Now she’s all vibrant and electric, back to life again. It’s all new and good, but it’s all different. I have to learn this girl too.IMG_2159

“It sort of feels like somebody turned the family system upside down—but not in a bad way. It felt like I walked back into a room I had memorized, but now the furniture is all moved around and I don’t know where I’m supposed to sit. I felt like, ‘Just give me a minute, I know the couch is here somewhere and I’ll find it. Nothing is where I left it. It’s all new and different. Somebody shook the house like a salt shaker, and everything landed in different places. I didn’t know it would look nice this way, but it really does. I just can’t find my shoes.’

“I wasn’t expecting Peter for many more years. Tricia had decided she was going to do the next ten years on her own—not that she wanted to be single, but she had decided that the dating scene for a single parent just brought too much instability, and she had decided she’d get these boys raised and then look after her own future. She is an incredible mother, and she has set their emotional health and stability as her very top priority, so she had settled into doing this on her own. But then Peter came along, and the plan changed. He’s wonderful and he’s everything she didn’t know she wanted, and I love him for her. I love him for all of us. I just wasn’t expecting him for a few more years.

“So, how do I feel? I’m so happy for her, for Peter, for the boys, and for all of us. Most of all, I love my sister’s renewed joy for life. And I’m waiting to see where we will all sit in the new living room.”

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. wow! Your brother shares your way with words (and your infectious smile) – well said, and I’m thrilled for you, and I’m glad the family’s working through the new living room and its splash of fresh colors!

  2. You guys are amazing!

  3. What a great way your brother described this! Thanks so much for sharing, Tricia.

  4. How wonderful! You two have a rare and wonderful sibling relationship!

  5. You and Rob both express yourself so eloquently, with just the right phrases and descriptions and analogies. The way he answered your question is insightful and precious. What a great brother to have!

  6. Can you see me standing and cheering? I never knew you, Tricia, when you were married before. We met a year after Robb died. But even though you were grieving, I always thought of you as a delightfully happy girl bravely going through a horrendous season of suffering and grief. Never once did you seem like a sad kind of person. Even in grief, delight danced around the edges of your face. And now we see who you are when all that delight is let loosed by Peter’s love! I used to do a talk on the 3 Gardens of the Bible and life. .The Garden of Eden is that garden of innocent fresh love /joy– the love you and Robb had as newlyweds. Gethsemane’s garden of suffering, grief and loss came next. But what I think you have with Peter now is the Resurrection Garden — in part a renewal of the joy that was lost in Eden, found again; but it is somehow deeper, more profound and even more real for having traversed Gethsamene’s Garden of disorienting grief. You aren’t the same wide-eyed innocent girl you once were; you are a woman fully aware, fully alive to the preciousness of each moment with this good man. It is beautiful to watch you in full bloom. My heart rejoices with every happiness you experience, almost as if it is my own. Because I so identify with this story, and I’ve prayed for this day!

    • I love the three gardens analogy, Becky! Profound and thought-provoking. God takes us all on this same garden walk spiritually in the ways He knows we each need to best learn these lessons. What a mighty Redeemer we have!

    • That is beautiful! What an inspiring insight.

  7. This really hits close to home. My husband died almost 4 years ago. Paul was only 42 years old. My brother and I used to be close but no longer speak. Sadly, he expected my life to go on as normal, when for me, it turned,upside down. Ironically, my Dad, who was never a man of emotion, seemed to be the only one who understood. He knew it was ok to sit quietly next to me. Everyone else expected me to ‘grow up’ and ‘get over it’. My Dad passed away last August and soon after my brother and I disagreed on how to handle the family landscaping/greenhouse business, among other things. I miss my brother and have reached out to him with no luck. Anyway, I could go on and on but I wish my family was more understanding as I struggle daily with anxiety and severe depression. One day life will be ok again

  8. Yes, you can tell how much Rob loves you Tricia and the closeness you two share is wonderful. While Peter was not expected at this time in your life you can see how the Lord worked in this situation. God’s timing is always perfect! Love you Tricia and I am so excited and happy for you and Peter. <3

  9. You can tell how much your brother loves you by how he speaks of your life past, present and future. And with such openness and optimism for your new life and absolutely no judgement. Not very many families are blessed to have such closeness between siblings. He is a true gem. And wow do you guys look alike!

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