I have had an absence from writing for a while – there have been lots of ‘things’ happening in my life and old feelings I thought I had laid aside, have been brought to the surface. It’s amazing how you think that you have dealt with issues in your life – only to find them coming to the surface again, through another ‘happening in the journey of life’. My mother-in-law recently died and she was buried on the same day that my late husband Brian and I were married. To add to this, my current adoring husband Anthony’s mother and Brian’s mother died on the same day – albeit many years apart.
I discovered after the death of my late husband Brian, that grieving is work; believe me, exhausting and regressive. I found that it didn’t progress in neat and predictable stages but was frustratingly erratic and repetitive. As I stepped aside periodically to evaluate, I saw improvement overall: a gradual lessening of the pain and fear, a growing confidence in my ability to handle life’s everydayness.
But, setbacks were sudden and frequent those first months as they are with any loss of a dear one. I would often find terrain which I thought I had traversed and left behind me was maddeningly underfoot again. I tried to learn to evaluate life in bigger chunks. Looking back. a month’s progress can be more encouraging that too-frequent scrutiny. I am speaking about myself here as well as friends and family members who mean well, but continue to ‘hover’ and offer unfailing advice without allowing me to go through the stages I needed to go through – ”by myself …”
Even today, so many years later, I am still occasionally swept by an unexpected wave of pain and hurt, the staggering awareness that Brian is not, and never will be, with us here again. His children that miss him so much, one of which – didn’t even get to know him properly. I am still … learning that the best way to get to the other side is to go through it, to face it and to name it, to accept the pain and deal with it as directly as I can. I’m also finding, to my surprise, that there are frequent stretches of days without tears, and any feeling of despair were only fleeting. I am happily re-married to a wonderful man today, but this will never take away what I had with Brian. Another life, another time! We all had lives before …….
As I look back over that first year of deliberate grief work, I began to see patterns in my choices and a new principle about life began to take shape in my mind. The principle is this, beauty can help to bring healing – rainbows, mountains, fresh strawberries on home-made ice cream, the crisp clean feel of sun-dried sheets. These places and things are somehow soothing to my soul.
As I mentioned in the begging of this post, my parents-in-law died on the same day, as well as my mother-in-law being cremated on the day that Brian and I got married. My children having their last link to their Dad (besides themselves and their mother’s) to their Grandmother dying …. and, that Brian had died on 16th of October – everything/all these incidents, happening so close to each other.
I asked God why I was finding all of this so strange and wondered if he was trying to tell me something. I pondered on this for many days, in-between family squabbling and trying too hard to please everyone, which as we all know, is absolutely impossible!
My friend Debbie sent me a message and the realisation finally hit me…… she said that she doesn’t know why, but that God had told her to tell me to ‘finally let go!’
I realised that God was telling me and the children to ‘let go’ - that an era had passed and that it was time to LIVE again! I believe I am now at peace. I just pray that the children can and will feel the same and put everything behind them now and look toward the future, their future with beauty all around them.
I am totally convinced that God has built into all of us, in varying degrees, the capacity for an appreciation of beauty, and has even allowed us the privilege of participating in the creation of beautiful things and beautiful places. I think it may be one way God brings healing to our broken hearts, and a way that we can contribute toward bringing wholeness to our fallen world.
God Bless you all on this wonderful day in October 2011.