My Beautiful Story

"Emerging from the ashes to embrace the beauty..."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Other Side of Grief

It has been 2 1/2 years since  my Erik died..... I haven't been to a wake since the one we held for him... but this past week, a friend of mine became a widow.... she was there during my time of sorrow... so of course I had to go and show her my support and pay my respects.... I knew it would not be easy... I was so thankful that I did not have to endure it alone... I was thankful that my amazing new husband was there by my side.... 
 It was strange though, being on that side of grief. It gave me so many emotions. As we waited in the long line at the funeral home, there was a huge flat screen TV that was playing music and pictures of this man's life. Pictures of memories. Pictures of smiles and laughter. I was so heartbroken for all the people who loved him most. For his close friends and family that felt his loss so deeply. I thought to myself, "This must be what everyone was thinking as they watched the slide show at Erik's wake." I stood there watching my friend embrace one person after another. I watched as many laughed and cried as they remembered this great man.I do not claim to know exactly how she was feeling, but I do know the depth of the pain of losing a husband. It is a sorrow I don't wish on anyone. My heart ached for her 2 precious children who must now endure life without their daddy to be there. I know so well the pain a mother must endure as she watches her children grieve. I know the utter helplessness. We got closer...closer to the open casket that held his body. Images of Erik's body filled my mind. The last time I touched his body... the day I said goodbye.... As we 
got closer, I felt it getting harder and harder to breath. Norm was so tender and caring; putting his arm around me. Giving me a look that told me he was there and he loved me and that he totally understood my pain. I had to turn away from looking at his body. I just couldn't bear it anymore. I couldn't bear the thought of my friend being without her beloved husband. And then it was my turn to embrace her. I hugged her so tightly. I began to weep. I hated that she was a widow. I hated knowing that she was going to return home without her husband. I hated thinking about the journey of grief that now lay ahead of her. I wanted to hold her longer. But I knew there was a line of people behind me waiting to get their turn to tell her how sorry they were. One day, when everyone goes back to their lives... I will be there for her if she needs me. I will try my best to allow God to use me to comfort her with the comfort I was given. 
 Norm and I left the funeral home. We talked about how sad it was... we talked about how full of life the man was. We talked about how sad we were for my friend and her kids. People must have said some of the same things after leaving Erik's wake. We talked about Erik. We talked about us. We talked about so many things. We went out and enjoyed some time together. The enormity of what I had just been through hadn't fully hit me though. It wasn't until we were lying in bed, ready to fall asleep. There in Norm's arms, I began to weep uncontrollably. I cried for my friend. I cried for her children. I cried for myself. I cried for my children. I cried and cried. I cried at how thankful I was that at that very moment, I had a husband that loved me and cared for me and allowed me to grieve.... 
 Grief is a journey that never ends... it has many stages... it has ups and downs... it has so many emotions. It is not a road I ever imagined myself on. But here I am. I know that it has a purpose. I will allow it to be something beautiful. I will accept it as my life. I will continue to write my story. I will pray that I can somehow help someone else who finds themselves on a grief journey of their own.
 Now I have seen the other side of grief.

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