I realize as we grow older, we will encounter loss. It’s inevitable. It’s also not something we can ever prepare ourselves for, whether the loss is after a long illness or sudden and unexpected.
Over the past few years, I’ve watched friends lose their spouses and how they come thru it. Recently, there have been even more.
Loss is devastating. As my cousin said to me yesterday, it’s a slow process and takes time to re-establish. Yes, it does.
I remember when our neighbor lost her husband suddenly in an auto accident. The Smart One was so sweet; it was only weeks before Valentine’s Day and so he insisted on getting her a card since no one else would be giving her one that year. It was beautiful. That was several years ago; and yet this week, as we were talking, she mentioned she is finally ready to deal with his death. Grief has it’s own timeline.
I have another friend who is just so special to me. She lost her husband suddenly after an unexpected illness. She is so strong and has it so put together. And yet, when asked if she was a Ms. or a Mrs. this week, she faltered, and then replied “Mrs.” I could just see her face change…and all I could do was hug her and tell her I love her.
I’ve watched others sit by their spouse’s bedsides as they lose their fight to cancer or another illness. It’s hard enough to watch them go thru it; I cannot imagine the heartbreak. And yet, they are strong, and they somehow make it thru.
I have another friend who is a young widow; now a single mother. I don’t think she really has any idea how much she amazes me. Her entire life was turned upside down and she rose to the challenge, went to work, went to school, and changes the lives of others every single day.
Recently, someone asked me if love was enough…and is it love if we think we’d be ok if anything happened to them.
I thought about this a lot since then. Did I give the wrong answer? My grandparents died exactly one year to the day apart. They spent their whole lives together; my grandfather went first, and she joined him a year later.
I replied I know I’d be able to make it thru. And honestly, I’d rather it be me left behind first, because I know I am strong and have my kids and friends and loved ones to get me thru. It’s not that I don’t love him deeply, I do. It’s just that I’m the type that works my way thru things. He’s been a part of helping me to become that strong.
When things are tough, I re-establish.
I worry about my honey though. I’m not so sure he’d be ok. Not that he’s not strong, he is. But I sooooo don’t want him to suffer that type of loss.
Valentine’s Day is coming up. I think about those who have lost their loved ones. And they remind me,
“Cherish the moments with the ones you love, because you don’t know if it will be your last.”
Recently, someone was talking about their loss, and how it was coming up to five years. She said to me, “I spent so much time regretting what I didn’t do and what I should have done. And it’s taken me five years to get thru the pain. So, Hope, if you see this, pray for pain.”
I was like…huh?
And she continued, “Pray for pain. Because sometimes, it takes pain for us to see what we’ve lost. And I’d rather have pain now, then when it’s too late to make any changes. Embrace the pain and learn from it. Then you realize what you lost and how to move forward.”
Love is a gift to be held on to.
I think perhaps that sometimes today’s generation has the wrong idea of what love is; that it’s temporary. They wait for the “BAM!” so they will know it is real and continue to look for something better instead of treasuring what they already have. Society today looks at what can they get out of love, instead of what are they willing to put into it.
They forget, that it’s a choice to show someone that they are their deepest treasure.
Yesterday, my husband and I spent the day with old friends. For a bit, we pondered on the good ole days. Back when things were easier, and our kids were younger and we had fun together. They’re about to be empty nesters. It will be just the two of them. What will they do?
As we said our goodbyes and walked away, the two of them made fun of us, “Ah look, they’re holding hands.”
As we started the 90 minute drive back home, my husband made sure to put on music he knew I’d like. We made small chat for a few minutes, but I was tired after a long day. I felt guilty at first, for not talking much. But then, I thought…this is so nice. Just the two of us, listening to music, driving together…comfortable enough to just be.
We’ve been together a long time. And I pray we have many more years to come. And I hope, I’m one that says, I’m glad I did, instead of I wish I had.