Clarissa Moll on Blooming Where You’re Quarantined

Clarissa Moll (MA, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the young widow of author Rob Moll and the mother of their four children. After a career in fundraising and marketing for small nonprofits, she now supports those in grief through her writing. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.


This past Sunday, I took my children for a walk in a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of our small New England town. Sunday marked our ninth day of preventative quarantine from COVID-19, and after a busy week indoors adjusting to online schooling and working from home, we were ready to get outside in the fresh air. A shock of wintery weather had passed through Boston, so we pulled out hats and mittens, bundled up, and headed out to the Atlantic Ocean.

When we arrived, my four kids tumbled out of the car and went ahead of me down the trail. They ran and played, swatting each other with grasses and zigzagging off the trail to race through the meadows. As I stood for a moment and watched them, I closed my eyes and drank in the silence as the ocean wind carried away my children’s voices. Then it hit me, like it has so many times over the last eight months: My husband is dead, and I’m here alone.

Only a year ago, my husband Rob brought me on a date to these meadows. We bought cherry hand pies from a local grocery store and sat eating them as the sun set. We enjoyed the companionable silence that comes with 17 years of marriage. As birds returned to their nests in the dusk, quiet rain began to fall. It was a moment out of a Robert Frost poemCome over the hills and far with me, and be my love in the rain. But for all my wishing now, Rob will never be here again with me.

When he died last July in a tragic hiking accident, I discovered a dreadful aloneness that I’d never known before. In that moment when the chaplains came to tell me of his death, I lost my partner, my confidante, my co-parent, my lover, my advisor, and my best friend. I’d always been an independent person, an introvert, even, but I never wanted to be ushered into a life without him. For the last eight months—and until Christ comes again—Rob’s seat sits empty at our kitchen table, and his side of the bed is cold when I slip beneath the covers each night.

Since Rob died, I’ve learned to do many things on my own. I’ve learned how to wire electrical fixtures in my home and how to fix the broken hot water heater on our family’s camper. I’ve learned to coordinate my finances without his wisdom to guide me and how to talk frankly with our sons about the birds and the bees. But however capable I become, I cannot cover for the love, assurance, and stability that Rob brought to our lives.

The loneliness of these last few weeks of public health-directed isolation only magnifies the solitary course my life has taken now. If I have fears or anxieties about the coronavirus, I must now manage them alone. I am the sole gatekeeper for my family. Every decision about our wellbeing falls to me. How do I manage this pandemic without my husband?

After my kids ran off down the ocean trail last weekend, I ceased hearing their voices after a while. I heard only the sound of the wind, rolling off the water, brisk and cold. As I stood against the wind, I was reminded of that striking Greek word eremos—lonely—which is used to describe the places that Jesus found to be refuges.

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Source: Christianity Today