I will remember them as the quiet days after it happened. The days when everyone and everything around me moved at a manic speed, in distorted time. In me lived only the quiet. I watched them all – my sons, their wives and my grandchildren- flittering around me, first one then another, sometimes several. My life now at a distance, removed from them, in a new dimension. Grief. Grief had silence me, took away my purpose, my being. Such grief, beyond what I thought possible. They fussed over me, brought me items. Food, clothes, things I didn’t want, didn’t understand why I needed them, why they insisted. I longed for sleep, for sleep next to my lost love, my husband, my friend. Longed for sleep, to finally wake next to him, with him. Sleep so this would all be a dream, the most horrible of dreams.
The days didn’t stop. The sun came out, its bright rays in my kitchen windows. I thought the days should stop. How could they continue to move on? Twenty-four hours, forty-eight hours, a week, a month. Still I waited for him, for a sign, for a touch. Waited in my time, my reality. That which always gave me comfort now felt foreign. I held the Book, our most cherished Book. But the words could not reach me, heal me. It remained flat, unopened on my lap. What new chapter was I yet to find that would end the awful quiet, bring me peace?
I see the concern in their faces, the faces of my adult fatherless children. Would they lose their mother too, they question. Would they see me slip away, into the land of spirit, far from the Earth that holds them? The small ones, the ones with eyes like their grandfather, call me back, remind me I am in the living, I am still here. They climb onto my lap, playing with the buttons on my blouse, connecting themselves, connecting me.
I rock them, or maybe I rock me. I sit within their comfort, their smells of life, hiding my tears within the strands of their hair. So little, so wise, knowing what I need, following their angels to provide for me.
I don’t know what day I discovered the scream within. How many days or nights had passed before I heard it? It pounded in my ears. Rebellious. Angry. Defiant. I couldn’t understand why others didn’t hear it. How they could move around me, collectively talking, laughing and not hear the scream? It seared my soul, it brought to me more anger than I could carry. It took my breath away. There were times I prayed it would take my life. Then I could follow my love to where he was. But it did not have the power of life, the power of death. It only had my anger. I walked the world through my anger, my scream. So unfair, not right. Thirty-eight years I had my bliss, my love. Why not now? What was the plan I asked my God, what was the plan?
When voices come from God, do they come in whispers? Do they come quiet, yet powerful in their message and tones? “This way to life they say”, they lead. “This way back to you, to Him”.
I don’t know who brought me our wedding picture. Which small hands passed the picture to me while they all hovered over me.
“Here, this is for you”, I remember the words, not the sayer, not the messenger. I look into the eyes of the young people in the picture – the bride, the groom, so many years ago. The light in their faces – the mission, the dedication to love, to each other, to the world. We never faltered from that. In all the years, our love never faltered
I took the picture that night and held it close, trying to remember how love felt, how it was around me. I carefully set the picture on the dresser, lighting candles around it. I laid on the bed, our bed, watching the flames dance around the glass, shining light on me, on him. Each glimmer a hope, a prayer. Peace came to me in my meditation, in my quiet. My tired body craved sleep, rest. I rose and blew out the candles, touching the picture, my love, one more time. I returned to our bed and drifted far from the world; drifted in time, in space, in memory of all that had been, on wings, on clouds in such peace. Blessed restful sleep.
In the morning, my eyes and my mind hazy from such a deep sleep, I looked to the picture, the memorial I had built. Candle light, I saw candle light. No, I thought, how can it be? I recalled my goodnights hours ago, my blowing out of the candles and my final touch to the cherished picture frame. But it was candle light I saw now. I sat up in my bed, clearing my head, my mind. Three candles were lit, were bright lights still burning around him, around me. I sat watching their light, in my quiet, in my wonder.
I don’t know what love looks like when it passes from this earth to spirit. I certainly don’t know how it feels. Not yet…my journey of grief is in its infant stage. But I now believe the light is bright, it is guided. And it remembered love.