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For those widowed suddenly or unexpectedly by any cause.
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3 1/2 months since the night my world was shattered. A few days ago I caught myself thinking how restful it would be to be in the hospital, in a bed, with people bringing me food and nothing expected of me, and I decided to make it happen. Not the actual hospital part, but treating a large part of my day as if just recuperating was all that was expected of me because I have been so terribly wounded. Honoring my pain has made life a little easier for me.
MaryH, I really like that poem. Thank you for sharing it.
For my husband, we had the cremation as soon as we were able to get him back. Our daughters and I wrote him letters, and we sent some of his special things with him in the cremation casket. Our younger daughter and I witnessed the cremation, with an old friend of ours standing by, and his flag was presented to me, but we had no formal ceremony at that time - we were too raw and shocked to know what to do. Three months later, we had a committal ceremony at the national cemetery for half of his ashes; it was also a short memorial service, and it was very healing, with music played by another old friend, and other friends speaking, and his military honors. Some of his ashes remain here with us and we will scatter most of them next spring in his favorite place. I'm not sure I want all of his ashes to go; I am thinking that I will keep some by me.
It's funny how my thoughts about burial and cremation have changed when confronted with actual decisions. I used to think that I would prefer burial, but I found that I strongly felt that my husband needed final dissolution of the body as quickly as possible, to let go of the body that caused him so much pain and free his spirit completely. I also used to think that keeping ashes at home was not something I wanted to do, and that separating ashes and scattering them anywhere was not how I wanted to handle this kind of thing for someone I loved. But again, I found that the opposite was true, and that it brings me comfort to have his ashes with me, and that scattering them is also an act of love.
I am having two services: one was local and a week after his death, and the other will be where most of our friends and family and his large professional circle (and my personal and professional circles, too) live in the Midwest, later on this summer. I contacted the officiant from our wedding, a Life Cycle Celebrant, to ask her for some readings and some ideas, since we had just married 20 months ago and she did a lot of work to put together a very meaningful wedding ceremony. I'd really recommend finding someone who has experience and knowledge in this area to do something personal for you, and if you know of favorite poems/poets, or meaningful religious verse, that could help you. I read two Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda that had meaning for me. Sonnets 92 and 94 are about loss and absence. I used to write translations of Neruda's love sonnets in cards to my husband. For the ceremony this summer, some of his close friends and professional colleagues (for him, one and the same in most ways) will be able to be present to share remembrances of him. Part of his ashes will be buried in a special place to us in the Midwest in a Bio-Urn with an acorn to grow into a tree, some of them will be in a family plot here in New England, and I will save the rest for me, even though I am only 35.
Sugar Plum - first of all, I'm so sorry for you loss, and for the loss of each of you reading this. I had a celebration of life ceremony for my husband 2 weeks after his passing - Although we, my husband and I both talked about and agreed on cremation for us both and a final resting place...the bottom of our favorite lake and the place we vacationed every summer for 32 years, however, I have been unable to give up his ashes...any of them. It was a week after his death that I received his ashes and urn and the minute his earthly remains entered our house there was a calm that came in with him...I can't explain it I just know that if this is all I have left of him I have no intention of letting go of any more of him than I already have. My children understand and know that the wishes of their parents were to be together forever so they know where we want to be when my ashes are given to them and they will drop us together when the time comes.
As for the ceremony for my husband, I didn't want to go...I was angry that this was expected of me to "host" a gathering...but our society expects it of the remaining spouse - this ceremony is actually for the living and a time for people to gather and pay respect to us, the spouse left behind - but, still I was not ready for a gathering or for the final farewell to my love - I will say in hind sight that the pending memorial was then only thing that got me out of bed in the morning for my first solo week - although I didn't want to do it, it was my last duty to honor my beloved husband and I would do what society expected of my because Wayne was worth it. I could not speak though...I wrote a letter which my (much loved) niece read for me.
Lakegirl33 - I understand your relationship to a song! Music has always been so important to me - but it is the words first and them the tune. I've had a difficult time enjoying music because it just brings on the tears - the songs that I relate to most are "Over you" by Miranda Lambert - played at Wayne's celebration of life ceremony and a song from the TV show "Nashville" called "Fade into you" a very haunting song but any of you that wish to listen to it will instantly relate to the words...this song was truly written for me and All of those reading this as well...you can google it and be taken to YouTube or to the lyrics.
Thank you, Mrsmcgoo. I am one year and one month from the day my beloved husband died suddenly. Casual friends ask me if I have thought of dating. I find myself absolutely blown away not only by the insensitivity but by the total ignorance of what a loss like this is. it is a tsunami, a hurricane in the center of our lives, of our hearts. The gifts of empathy and "getting it" in this group make a huge different to the dark lonely journey
June 21st will be four years since the night my husband died of a heart attack in the middle of the night. I stopped at a red light not an hour ago when memories ran through my mind and I started crying. I had to blink several times so I could drive on. I miss him more than I have words to express. No one understands this emptiness except those of us who are living it.
Sugar Plum, we had had a formal memorial earlier because it took so long to get my husband's body back. When we did we had a cremation ceremony and then a scattering at sea at a place which meant a lot to us both, and his oldest son lowered his ashes into the water. They were topped with bougainvillea blossoms which floated on the water afterwards. Before he did we each said goodbye in our own way, unscripted, and I read this poem which I found in an old book published in 1909.
The Final Freedom
At the grim end, no prison for me
Wherein my blanched mortality,
Immured, shall lie, because it must,
Till it resolve itself to dust.
Nay, let a flame of mystic might
To make corruption clean and light,
Prepare my body for its Fate,
From loathly things inviolate.
Then, standing by great waters, where
The heavens stretch wide, and sun and air
And ampleness inhabit, cast
My ashes to the azure Vast.
And I shall thank you, being blent
With what I love, the element
Of earth refined and caught away;
Yes, I shall thank you and shall say:
“The fierce purgation of the fire
Has loosed my spirit, I aspire
Toward God, I mount, elate and free,
One with the wind and sky and sea.”
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