|One of the last photos of Gary and I as a couple.|
THE LULU CHRONICLES
"Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."
C.S. Lewis- A Grief Observed
C.S. Lewis- A Grief Observed
This week I am in San Antonio with some dear friends. It has been a nice visit as we catch up and enjoy our friendship. My trip here was a gift from them. It has been a good place to allow my banged up and bandaged heart to rest. I haven’t had to wrestle with grief every moment of the day, but I’m not fooling myself. The Hubs is here. The last time I made this trip, we were together. Our visit consisted of lots of laughter and lots of relaxed conversation that only couples with ‘like marriages’ can have. Our foursome is now a threesome and Gary’s absence couldn’t be more glaring than if I had two missing front teeth. Nonetheless, my friends have embraced me and welcomed me in and have given me a place to mourn openly when the need arises.
I know not all of our friends will be able to do that. C.S. Lewis had an idea about that. After his wife died he wrote, “Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special settlements like lepers. To some I’m worse than an embarrassment. I am a death’s head. Whenever I meet a happily married pair I can feel them both thinking, ‘One or other of us must some day be as he is now.””
I feel like I’m a walking, talking reminder to couples of what’s to come. I’m the Grim Reaper riding a pink bike. Gary and I used to talk about how everything changed once the cancer attacked the liver. Our lives were put on a time line. Our time together became like that little blue blinking dot on a GPS telling us where we were in our journey, at the same time telling us how close we were to journey’s end. We’re all on this journey. What made us different was that our end had a destination pin stuck in it. Now, me standing alone may be too much for some. I’m sure I’m not a pretty sight with my right arm missing, my heart half gouged out and my tendency to bump into walls and stare blankly into space. Grief isn’t pretty. And, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t for sissies.
I’m one of the blessed ones. Most of my friends are still with me. They haven’t missed a step. I may be ugly to look at right now, but they still embrace me like one does a homely puppy with only a face a mother could love. They wouldn’t think of booting me off the porch. But I know not all have been given what I have. I’ve heard horror stories of friends abandoning friends once a death occurs. Some have just walked out of lives that once they thought they couldn’t live without simply because it got too hard. What I want to encourage and admonish is don’t be one of those. If you have a friend who has recently lost someone don’t abandon them. Don’t think that two weeks, or two months or even two years will get the job done. Their life has been changed forever. And if you love them, so has yours. Clasp hands. Bow heads. Nobody gets through the valley alone.
Grief takes time. Grief morphs a life into something unrecognizable. Don’t let it scare you. It’s God at work.