Happy Father’s Day

Taylor introducing his father, Mark Wade Marley, to our youngest daughter, Charlotte (Lola) Wade Marley (September 2018).

I know this Sunday will be a tough one when Father’s Day comes and Taylor won’t be there. Still, the girls and I have a lot to celebrate because our family has been blessed with an amazing father. A father who was a good, faithful and hardworking man, and even in his death continues to be the spiritual leader of our family.

When I went to a dentist appointment earlier this month I was reminded of Taylor’s wonderful sense of humor. In the summer of 2015 we had just found out we were expecting our first child. I was only a few weeks along when I had scheduled dental cleanings for both of us. I went earlier in the day than Taylor and filled out all the paperwork while I waited for my appointment. The top page on the clipboard asked if the patient is pregnant so I checked “yes.” I told the receptionist that my husband would be in later that day and asked if she could give him my paperwork to copy, knowing that he did not have his insurance card on him.

When Taylor came in later for his cleaning, he checked in and was handed his own clipboard of paperwork. The receptionist then gave him mine, telling Taylor that his wife had asked her to “in case there was any information on there that he didn’t know.” Taylor scanned my clipboard of paperwork and saw the question I had checked “yes” to. He acted surprised and loudly exclaimed to the receptionist, “My wife is pregnant?!?!” He was met with a shocked and guilty look before finally letting the woman off the hook and telling her that he was just kidding and already knew he was going to be a father.

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Psalm 68:5

There are so many things I miss about Taylor every day and the genuine laughter is near the top of that list. While my girls will never be able to give Taylor a Father’s Day card or pick out a tie that he would never wear, we still have a lot to celebrate on this day. God promises to be a father to the fatherless. He blessed us with the greatest man three girls could ask for and has put so many other wonderful fathers in our life to support us until we see Taylor again.

I hit the lottery with my own dad, Paul McKinney/Captain. He raised my siblings and myself with so much love, always guiding us to know the Lord and be kind to others. He set a wonderful example of qualities to value when choosing a spouse. Taylor’s dad, Mark Marley/Pow Pow, has been our source of strength. While working through his own grief and keeping the ranch running, Mark has continued to welcome the girls and me following him around everywhere like a litter of lost and traumatized puppies. I have never known anyone that was closer to a parent than Taylor was to Mark and I am so thankful Margot and Charlotte get to have that paternal relationship. We have also been blessed with the wonderful husbands of my dear friends. Men that have dropped everything without question to take care of their children and responsibilities at home so their wives could attend to my family when I needed my girlfriends the most. If this day is a hard one for you too, remember that God promised to be a father to the fatherless and you are not alone. Welcome His son, Jesus Christ, into your heart and know that you are loved by God, the father of all creation.

Love, Molly

Copyright © 2021 M. Marley, LLC

Best Advice

Our family standing in the spot where Taylor proposed (January 2013) in Ruidoso, NM.

When you go through loss; especially when it is a sudden death, especially when the person is young, especially when it is your husband, people simply just. don’t. know. what to say. There were lots of well meaning people who showed up at our house or Taylor’s service and exclaimed that they were just “dying” to get there and give me a hug. I would stare blankly back at them with my bloodshot eyes and bite my tongue as I thought to myself “Really?? the only person who was actually DYING here was my husband.”

There were also countless acquaintances who reached out only to say how shocked they were to hear the news. This was another comment I just didn’t know what to do with. Am I supposed to comfort you here? Oh, I’m so sorry to hear how shocked and heartbroken YOU are. When you are grieving and looking for something to get angry about, the ill spoken comforters can easily become collateral damage. However, letting someone else’s words fester in your brain that already has too much real stuff to worry about only hurts yourself. We are not designed to carry the weight of hurt caused by others (or imagined to be) which is why God tells us to forgive.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32

After the funeral, I received a lot of books on loss and grief that I devoured when I didn’t know what else to do with my time. Some were hard to take seriously when they talked about different kinds of struggles in life. Other people’s problems all had possible solutions and the only solution to my loss is accepting that I will never see Taylor again this side of heaven. Other writers took a negative, woe is me tone that I didn’t appreciate. If you knew my husband, then you know that Taylor Marley didn’t marry a victim.

Baker Publishing
Note: This is not a paid affiliate-Just sharing a book I appreciated

One of the most helpful books I received was given to me by one of our pastors, Sean Lee. Grieving With Hope is full of so much useful advice and biblical application and has been a great source of comfort for me. It has one chapter on Dealing with Insensitive Comforters. There is a line in this chapter that seems so obvious, but I think I needed to see in black and white type to realize its truth…“Few people sit around thinking of ways to offend grieving people.” (pg.62)

It is actually laughable when you think about this. I know that nobody bought a plane ticket or hopped in their car and drove hours out to the ranch spending their travel time wondering, “When I get there, what can I say to Molly that would really exacerbate her heartbreak?” People simply just don’t know what to say so they risk putting their foot in their mouth or don’t say anything at all (even more hurtful). This is true in a lot of our interactions with each other. We are not always great at communicating and this becomes worse the more ways there are to communicate with each other. We are called to be patient and gentle with each other (Ephesians 4:2). I know I would want the same grace granted to me when someone doesn’t understand my intentions or my tongue doesn’t articulate well what is really on my heart. Be kind to one another and withhold judgement-only God knows the hearts and minds of someone else. Simple advice, but it was something I simply needed to hear to accept the love and true intentions of my comforters.

Love, Molly

Copyright © 2021 M. Marley, LLC

He Bought the Trip Insurance

Taylor (third from left) with friends on a sandhill crane hunt in Lubbock, TX

This past week was a little weird for me when I flipped through my planner for the first time in a while. I normally carry my planner with me everywhere, taking great care each January to pick out the perfect one for the new year and getting way too excited about it in the office supply aisle at Target. With no plans during quarantine and no reason to write anything down, I was a little shocked to realize it was already the last week of May.

The week before Taylor’s accident he was on a trip with his dad, Mark. They went to San Antonio, Texas for a cattle convention and were blessed with some precious time together. When Taylor got home that weekend he was eager to tell me about the convention and a bachelor trip some of his friends were planning to Costa Rica over Memorial Day Weekend. I’m thankful I was a “cool” wife about the trip and fully supportive of him going. Taylor valued friendships more than anyone else I’ve ever known. He loved all people, and he really loved good people. He saw opportunities like the Costa Rica trip as an investment in his friendships, valuing time he got to spend with good friends above most other things in this world.

Sunday evening Taylor helped put our girls to bed. After reading them books and tucking them in, not knowing it would be the last time, he booked his flight to Costa Rica. He mentioned to me that he also went ahead and bought the trip insurance. I was really surprised by this and he just brushed it off. If you knew Taylor, this fact would be shocking to you too. We sat in his office the rest of the evening talking and just being together while he looked up stuff about Costa Rica. I pulled his passport out of the safe to double check the expiration and we talked about what he might need to pack for the trip. I am confident God already knew that night that Taylor would never make it to Costa Rica.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money,’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'”

James 4:13-15

As I look at my planner and realize that I should have been unpacking Taylor’s bag last week, probably filled with sand, and doing the laundry from his trip, I am baffled at my reality. His bag from San Antonio is still on the floor in our bedroom. I’ve rifled through it and held his worn shirts against my face, but I haven’t brought myself to unpack it just yet. I think about the trip insurance a lot and see it as a gift from God who put it on my husband’s heart to purchase. A gift to a wife who tends to over analyze and has a desperate need to approach everything with logic. That trip insurance is a gift that constantly reminds me there was never supposed to be another bag to unpack. It is a gift that tells me God has another plan for Taylor and it is all going to be OK (even when it really sucks right now).

God never promised that life would be easy, but he did promise to never forsake us. When you are going through a hard time, even if it seems trivial in comparison to real world problems, look for the gifts. Look for all the ways God is letting you know that he is right there with you. The only thing we are assured of in this world is what is promised to us in the bible. When the time comes for all of us to embark on our final trip, the insurance has already been paid for with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Have you ensured that you will arrive at your final destination by accepting that insurance?

Love, Molly

Copyright © 2021 M. Marley, LLC