Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grief isn't for sissies...

One of the last photos of Gary and I as a couple.

 "Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."
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.


AdamKayla Gilmour said...
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AdamKayla Gilmour said...

I attended a few of Gary's bible studies. I was wondering if you've ever read the book "Heaven is For Real." It helped me quite a lot after losing my dad. My aunt said that it brought her some comfort when I gave it to her after losing my uncle. In some way we are all connected, and I just thought I'd share with you, in case you have not already read it.

P.S. You are an inspiration.

Mental Health Workgroup said...

Thank you again for the post. You put the words so often to my broken heart as I grieve my best friend, my mom. I never understood grief as I do now and it is true, that many of my friends and even my own husband doesn't understand why after two months, I am not over it. Thanks for giving encouragement while enduring your own grief. May God continue to comfort and strengthen you during this time. Love you my friend.

Cathy Messecar said...

Deb, just wanted to check in and see how you are faring. Oh, you were in San Antonio, only three hours away from me. Here I am a stranger except through these comments after reading your insightful words, but it felt like I should have driven over to see you! Blessings. May you have a kinder tomorrow....