I went to a funeral recently. It was hard, harder than I first thought it would be. Charlie was a dear friend of Husband’s family for many years, but his declining health meant that his passing was not unexpected.
But at the graveside service, it was so painfully evident that loss is enduring, long-lasting, never truly ending. You see, Charlie is buried next to Michael.
So we stood there, between the same two live oak trees that we had stood between in October of 2012. It was sunny and birds were chirping, though. An utterly different feel than the chilly wet weather surrounding Michael’s passing when Hurricane Sandy swept through. There was joy and smiles and prayers as we remembered Charlie. It didn’t feel that way when we buried Michael. It was a searing loss, a part of ourselves torn away forever.
I took a moment after the service to give Carol, Charlie’s wife, a hug. She took me in her grasp and looked me right in the eye. I want to tell you, she said. I’m proud of you. I saw how you handled everything a year ago. A young wife, so young in your marriage for such a hard lesson. But I saw how you handled everything, and I’m proud of you.
I can’t express what her words meant to me; I am recording them here so that I will never forget.
These past 18 months since Michael passed have been the hardest of my life. I pray that I live through them with grace and compassion. I pray that my marriage is strengthened by the hardship, not torn. I pray for healing and faith that goes beyond what any of us could imagine. And I pray for peace that passes all understanding.