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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

A new friend of mine, a dear friend

Recently needed my help

He was reliving the Last Day

Too young to be going through this himself

It was a day I, too, am well acquainted with

 

I felt the weight of responsibility to give something profound

To help my friend…get him out of darkness

And if not completely into the light…

At least help him to the doorway…or near a window

Where he could see a ray of light before him

And the darkness would not win this time

It would not take another from me and the rest of the world

A world in great need of a young man

With such courage, intelligence, promise, and wisdom

 

And though I struggled mightily

I’m not sure that I did...

Give him something profound

 

But unexpectedly, as I began to impart my reply

I felt the softest of changes inside my own heart

A slight correction in the path of my own Journey

Through the Valley

Of the Shadow

Of Grief

 

Countless are the times I have done the same as he

Examined every detail of the Last Day

With an awesome microscope

 

Rolling my love over early in the morning

Suddenly knowing, knowing

This is the Last Day

And not able to believe it

This unnatural motionlessness

The pallor of the beautiful face

 

Visions of the shell of the man I loved lain out before me

So still

The spirit of the man I loved

So silent

One more step removed from me

The ambulance, the hospital ER

So cold

A doctor’s voice

So gentle

Imparting the verdict that my mind and soul already knew

 

The faces of my children

Twisted in the newness of deep grief

My heart pierced forever…for them…for me

My throat constricted with an unearthly scream

That I could not vocalize with my mortal voice

That I could not release lest it kill me

 

A new morning sky being born

On that Last Day

Wrongly, so blue and perfect

Extending into forever

White clouds dancing above me

Mocking

Laughing

At my new wound that would never heal

 

The first calls I made to those in priority

Mind in a flurry

Not knowing what to say

 

What the hell just happened?

What the hell just happened?

 

The Last Day

 

And then…

That soft change, that slight correction of course

Was to remember

Just as deeply

With that same, awesome microscope

Everything that led up to that last day

 

I began to remember

With a clarity that I lost in the Valley  

In this ghastly, lingering state of shock

Many other days that mattered so much more

 

Days of electricity and excitement

Looking into blue-green eyes

Sultry and Inviting

My first encounter with the soul who changed my life

 

Days of passion and exploration

As we invited each other in to know

Body and Heart

To discover, to love

The beginnings of a bond that would last till death parted us

 

Days of dreaming

Of what the future might hold

And how to make the dreams we had come true

Days when coming true did not materialize…

And the days when it did

 

Days of working, striving

To create our lives together

Our home, our babies

 

Days of conflict

When we stepped off our shared course

And butted heads

With no permanent damage to our Covenant

Made before Our Heavenly Father

 

Days of victory and defeat

Accomplishments we made together

And Individually

Failures we suffered together

And for each other

 

Days of Happiness and Learning

As we watched children grow

Reveling in each other’s company

Interacting with the world around us

Becoming wiser

 

So many other days

Days worthy of remembering

Examining every detail

 

And it is this, finally

The change

The correction of course

That is coming forth now

Into my view

 

I cannot have Rick back

My life is what it is

Forever changed

 

The certain end of this earthly existence

Was guaranteed long ago

The last day will come for each of us

 

Neither can I prevent where my memories take me

Whether the last day

Creeps, simply appears, or explodes

In my brain

 

But I CAN consciously choose

To remember all the other days

To start with

And then, to let them take over

Eventually

Until the last day loses its complete control over me

And takes its place in proper proportion

 

In fact, it has already begun

 

To make the picture of Rick’s life complete

To honor this man I was blessed to walk beside for so long

I will now give the same frequency of reflection

And depth of examination

To memories that matter MORE

 

The sum total of my Rick’s life

     The days that made him the wonderful man he was

     And still is

     And all that he did

     And all that he tried to do

Was NOT created on that last day

It was forged in

 

The Days Before

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