My sister, Kathy, lost her husband to cancer in early September. She has been journaling as a way to express her feelings and grief, and to help cope with her loss.
With Kathy’s permission I am sharing a short passage from her journal that she recently shared with me. I do so in the hope that these thoughts will provide comfort to someone who may be experiencing similar loss.
“It looks like it will be daylight before I get to sleep again. I have tried to dump all the pain in the trash where it belongs but sometimes it lingers.
A few people have said, ‘You are holding up quite well Kathy.’ I want to shout back, ‘I have gone to great pains to conceal this hurt.’ Other times I cannot conceal my pain and I unashamedly cry my heart out.
My husband has died. Give me the morning sun to warm my soul again and to grasp the future without him Lord. I just want to hear his voice again telling me, ‘I love you,’ to see the smile on his face when I sing softly to him before he drifts off to sleep, to see him sweetly whispering the words of the song along with me, to squeeze his hand or even snuggle against his chest and fall asleep in his arms. This is my prayer. ‘Did you understand the words or only know that I was singing to you?’
I gently reached out to lift your head for a goodbye kiss. Your body was still warm for death had not yet robbed your soul. It is still in the room. You have not been gone long enough for your memories to fade.
How lovely was the look on your face only an hour before when I held you gently in my arms telling you once more how much I loved you and it was okay for you to go. Had I known that you would be gone within the hour I would have stayed longer, but possibly you knew and wanted to be alone to meet the Lord. The Holy Spirit knew that your body could not last. The cancer had finally won and used up all the energy that had lingered, keeping you with us for a few more days. After a moment of silence you were gone. I saw a wink of light glistening from a tear on your cheek that night, ever so briefly, and I wondered if we were mistaken and you were only sleeping.
I knew that night that the future was going to be rough going for me. Now I walk along the path wanting to look beyond the shadows, but it is too dark. Trembling, I try to shake away the pain, but it is too difficult.
The shivering and teeth chattering have finally stopped though. I drunkenly continue to trudge along the path, wrapped warmly in your memories, all the while waiting to wake up from this dream. A voice shouts in my head, ‘He is out there, somewhere, keep looking!’
Another month, or two, or three will pass strengthening me each moment, but I am not there yet.”
George Brown is the Executive Director of Clermont Senior Services.