Monday, December 16, 2013

He was here...

Papa Gary & Cian

Recently a friend was consoling me over of the loss of my husband. She said many wise things but there is this one thing she said that hit a nerve. I’m at the stage of mourning where I’m sensing that just saying Gary’s name makes others uncomfortable. They are not trying to be mean or thoughtless. In fact, I’m sure they are simply trying to be sensitive to my needs. But my friend advised, “Talk about Gary.” She went on to say that talking about him would make his absence more bearable.
I do want to talk about the Hubs, but whom do I talk to about him? And does talking about him truly make those around me uncomfortable or am I imagining it? At Thanksgiving, one night the kids and I were sitting around the table and began telling stories about their dad, just little things, sweet tidbits that made us tear up and laugh. It was like a cage door was unlocked. It felt wonderful.
Gary was here. He made such an impact. He was loved. He loved. He was funny. He was charming. He was compassionate and passionate. He was generous and wise. There are so many stories. I find myself wanting to tell someone about the very first poem he ever wrote me, or about the day he walked right into my speech class in college and sat down behind me. It wasn’t his class. He just wanted to see me. Then there was the time when our first son was born and he was so frightened and overwhelmed at the responsibility of being a dad that he took off on a long aimless drive for several hours. I was getting worried about him. But he came home excited and with tears in his eyes at the possibilities ahead of us with this child and the others to follow. Oh, and sometimes when the kids were finally asleep, he’d sneak out and buy us both a turtle sundae like at nine o’clock at night. It was our secret. On the soccer field his nickname was Rambo Rev. It was deserved. On family vacations he loved to drive all night with the radio blaring. The Eagles and Chicago were his favorite bands. He was a preacher and had the heart of a servant. When he’d get calls in the middle of the night he’d answer the phone like he’d been up waiting for their call. I was his first real girlfriend. I was also his last real girlfriend.
Not being able to talk about the one you lost to those who knew him is like someone putting duct tape over your mouth… and your heart. My friend was right. I need to talk about Gary to anyone who will let me. I need the healing that will bring. I need the validation that he mattered, he was here, that others miss him too. I understand it may be awkward and hard. However, I’ve never shied away from hard.
If you have any Gary stories tucked away, I’d love to hear them. If you’ve lost someone you love, I’d also love to hear about him or her. What did they do that made you laugh? What was their favorite food? Did they have a nickname? Did they give you one?
Say their name out loud. Remember. Allow the memories to do what God intended.

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