Happy July 4th! 5th?
Okay…it has been more than two months since the loss of my husband, and I can say with absolute joy that healing has begun! It is such a good thing, you can’t even imagine. I still miss my Bill terribly, and I am painfully aware that he is gone, but I still have room in my heart and spirit for healing. That is good news.
When others express concern for me (concern is so sweet), I just find myself thinking, “The toughest, most painful part was watching my loved one suffer, while being powerless to help.” If anyone could have warranted permission to lash out at humanity, family, and the Almighty, Bill might possibly have been the one. Yet, I never heard anything of the sort. Over the years, Bill and I have tried to “be there” when awful things have happened to our friends. Our theory was (and continues to be): If it isn’t “our turn” at the moment, then we need to “be there” for friends for whom “the turn” is happening. We “showed up” when our friends were hurting. And…I can tell you with all humility…my friends “showed up” in a powerful way for Bill and me…a way I have never experienced in all my years. They showed up sometimes to cry with me, and they showed up at other times to laugh and laugh and laugh until we cried! Grieving takes so many twists and turns…and my friends just “went with it.” God bless them all!
In the midst of their own grief in losing Bill, they pushed forward, too, and somehow we have all found a way to begin the healing process. It comes with comforting words….like….”Let’s get a latte,” or comforting activities….”Come over to my pool,” and sometimes with old-fashioned pampering….”I made an appointment for us to get a pedicure.” My “pedicure” friend and I both laugh when we talk about our “memorial pedicure,” but the truth is that my spirit was revived and soothed, and I was able to be still and focus on something wonderful for an hour or so. Such….a….gift!!! All of these special times were healing me from the inside-out. The “out” came about in smiles and laughter from me, and in their own ability to say, “Yes…let’s go ahead and have the July 5th party.”
So…we put on our fun patriotic hats (the brims flashed with lights), and we enjoyed a July 5th party. Why the 5th? Because we have a delightful friend who has had a long-standing celebration with her family on the 4th, and we refuse to have a party without her!! So…we just change the holiday, so to speak. We’re not going to have a party without Ann. We’re just not gonna do it.
And….take a look….these fun people are the best sports in the world (dig the bowtie, hats and beads) who bring joy by showing up to love others.
The party this year honored Bill’s memory. Without hesitation…at the appropriate time…a toast was made to my dear, sweet husband….who loved a party almost as much as he loved me. Throughout the evening, I continued to think, “Bill should be here.” And then…a sweet friend offered me a piece of chocolate cake….Bill’s famous chocolate cake. I was fine until then. With this special gift of love, I was reminded of Bill’s absence….but the cake was totally delicious. Once again, this friend’s sweet gift of love made the evening more special.
And so….what’s the plan, now that “Option A” is no longer available? We continue living and loving, and know that “Option B” (I’m reading the book) can also be a sweet and love-filled experience…a life that leads to joy! My new life is in the process of being re-defined….and… it still has joyful moments of hope, joy, and love.
With every passing day, I remember my Love. I do not forget, but I know that Bill’s concern throughout the illness was that I “be okay.” I am okay. I am more than okay. I am fortunate, grateful, and thrilled to have wonderful friends who are somehow saying the right things, doing the right things, being the right persons, and loving me with the right love…showing up…to help me live again. Yes….I am okay.