Kim Gilchrist holds a photomontage of her late husband Darryl. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

When Half of Your Heart Leaves You

Have you ever considered what life may look like after the crushing reality of losing your better half? For Kimberly Gilchrist, the devastation of her husband’s passing has sparked profound revelations that so many others can painfully attest to.

During 2019, the United States Census Bureau reported there being roughly 15 million widows, and widowers across the United States, with 77% of those individuals being women. Kim Gilchrist of Bladensburg, Maryland, experienced the unconscionable a year into the national health pandemic.

“When [the doctor] explained to me that his heart had stopped, it felt like my heart had stopped,” said Gilchrist, of the moment her world changed when she received news that her life-long partner, Darryl Gilchrist, had passed away.

Gilchrist still remembers the very day she met her husband on March 17, 1986, as young Bladensburg High School students. Well into their sophomore, and junior years of schooling, their friendship steadily blossomed, inspiring her then boyfriend to permanently seal the deal.

“I just knew Darryl was the one when he first proposed to me. He didn’t have a ring, we were in high school [then],” said Gilchrist as she ran her fingers across a heart shaped pillow adorned with beautiful photos of the couple sewn into the fabric.  “When I look back at these pictures, we were always holding hands. And every time I would get a picture of us holding hands, it symbolized our [wedding] rings.”

Gilchrist’s husband struggled throughout the last few years of his life, as he faced several health conditions. For quite some time, Gilchrist believed her husband Darryl suffered in silence, often suppressing his pain to prevent a heavier load, or worry onto his wife, Kim.

But on Darryl Gilchrist’s last visit to the hospital in March of 2021, his wife did not get the opportunity to say her final goodbyes in person, partly due to space precautions implemented across hospitals nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

After a final stretch of Darryl’s heartbeat resuscitating in, and out, he unfortunately passed while hospitalized on March 17, 2021, the anniversary date of the first time the couple crossed paths 35 years prior.

“When I saw him, he looked so peaceful.  He actually looked better than he did when he was living.  Not sure what took place for that to happen but, he looked like he was at peace.  I cried, but [my family] and I also went in with praise and worship, and I knew at that moment he was with the Lord, and at peace, [not] suffering anymore,” Gilchrist lovingly disclosed.

Gilchrist recounts the loving devotion, and commitment that they held to one another over their 35-year friendship, and 30-year marriage.  She shares that they held up their vow to each other to never go to bed mad, and always choose love over discourse.

“Love past, through, over, however, the situation.  No situation is bigger than losing a spouse because you don’t get them back.  I could be the one saying I wish I had a chance to tell him I loved him, but the good thing about that [is] we were able to tell one another the night prior to [his] passing, [that] we loved each other,” Gilchrist said.  “That played a big part in my life after he passed.  That resonates in my heart that I can tell that story over and over again.  Love beyond the situation.”

Did you like this story?
Would you like to receive articles like this in your inbox? Free!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *