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Published: Feb 18, 2009
Danny Gokey's Wife Sophia Photos: How She Died and Heart Foundation
by Mike Baron

'Idol' contestant Danny Gokey is taking the world by storm with his story of hope and courage - one that he outpours on American Idol season 8.

You see, Danny is a contestant on American Idol who has touched the hearts of many viewers who have lost a loved one in their life. Danny tried out for American Idol just weeks after his wife died during an operation.

His story, "Letting Go: Necessary Steps in Moving Forward", is below:

One lesson I’ve learned from children that has had tremendous power in my life is “letting go”.  If you have ever had to intervene in a bout between two children fighting over a toy, you'll notice the emotions running high, tears streaming down each child's face, and their precious hearts torn from what was perceived in their eyes as a huge conflict.  After you correct them and settle the situation, within five minutes they have already restored their relationship between their former foe and are having even more fun than previously before the fight.   Their hearts have not yet accepted or entertained the idea of depositing the seeds of bitterness or anger.

A child exercises the ability to let go of the hurtful situation and they move forward in their relationship with one another in life (notice how they always enjoy life because they don't harbor harmful emotions).  I've noticed in my life that when my heart has gripped around a certain hurtful situation from the past, it hinders me from being able to move forward and fully enjoy living.

The most relevant situation that I can share with you is when my wife passed away.  The emotions from losing my spouse were overwhelming, not to mention all the previous years of doctors visits, hospital stays, and the hardest thing of all having to watch my wife cry at times because of the pain.  This all led up to the final outcome.  Doctors told me she only had a 10% chance of dying during this operation and I felt we exhausted our options financially, spiritually, physically, and medically yet nothing worked.  I was shocked from the sudden loss and left with the hounding questions: “why me” and “why her”,  with an overwhelming pit of despair.  Through that situation I became vulnerable to emotions I didn't want but barely resisted because of my analytical mind trying to reason every little detail.  Bitterness, anger and resentment began to fill my mind and started to take root in my heart, which launched me into a 3 month deep depression.  You see, I know many people would say that is normal. I do believe this is true within a certain balance, but I know in my heart of hearts what I was going through was not normal. I felt like I had to put on a face for everybody to cover what was really going on inside.  Deep down inside, I felt there was not hope for me and I really wanted to die.  If I had not dealt with this, it probably could have somehow or someway took me out. So, I began pray and cry out to God for help and I believe I found the answer.

The answer I found was exactly this; "let go" or "cause yourself to let go".  I admit that answer was not appealing to me because I found no justice in it, and most of all it didn't instantly remove any pain.  But I knew that if I continued down this road it would have a price that I could never afford to pay. You see, the cost of hanging on to the bitterness and anger was actually much greater than the cost of simply letting go.  I was very reluctant to do it.  At times it was hard and I literally had to cause myself (force myself) to let go.  Letting go doesn't mean forgetting about Sophia but does mean releasing the toxic emotions tied to the situation.  However, I can tell you today that I am able to enjoy life more and I'm grabbing hold of new opportunities that would have otherwise been lost.  I’m not buried in my bed under my sheets at home being angry at the world and God, but I’m in the stages of healing because my heart is not bound by resentment.  I’m able to see how her life and heart can touch countless others through this foundation and other avenues in her honor.

I’m an advocate of protecting the heart. Your heart is your real set of eyes. What I mean by that is that if your heart has become evil through seeds of anger and hate, you will interpret life and every person’s actions through those negative eyes.  A person might come shake your hand and compliment you at work, and your heart might analyze what they have done as having some kind of hidden motive or agenda. You might spend countless hours wondering why they’re out to get you.  On the other hand, if you have a pure heart you would shake your co-workers hand, accept their compliment and be touched by their kindness.

When I let go, that is when I was able move forward.  The doorway to your future and destiny is only big enough for you to walk through, not you and your past. Past and future don't mix. It’s either one or the other. If you hold on to your past, your future will only be revisiting that past over and over again.  I know it seems hard and it’s not the answer you might want to hear, but take it from someone who has been there.  I can tell you, it has been 1,000 times better to just let go than it was to hang on and demand answers and justice.  So many families are torn apart because of people’s unwillingness to let go by forgiving and forgetting.  Many people tend to think that terrible situations and terrible relationships will somehow fix themselves.  They think that emotions of anger and unforgiveness will bring about justice; yet scientific studies link those emotions to many harmful diseases, which often lead to an early death.

I've made a choice to be free. I've made a choice to cherish and be thankful for the wonderful times I shared with Sophia.  It’s not easy. Some mornings I'll wake up and be plagued with anger and sadness, yet I CHOOSE to release those emotions and I CHOOSE to exercise gratefulness, which always makes for a better day. With that powerful principal, I was able to remove from my heart the roots and growth planted by the seeds of bitterness, and I allowed the seeds of thankfulness and joy take its place.  Soon, I believe it won’t be as much of a battle because my heart will only harvest and cultivate those attributes.

I strongly urge you to examine your life, release and let go once and for all those things that have held you back. It could be a harmful self-image, disappointments, setbacks, wrong relationships or anything else that hold you in the pit of your past and keeps you from embracing your present and future. Become like a child and don't let your heart hang on to those things, but let it always bounce back with new hopes and second chances.  The best is yet to come for you!  Believe it, it’s yours for the taking!

Go here to read about Sophia's Heart Foundation and to see photos.

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