...quiet. There's nothing like it.
After travels, and visits, and concerts, and dentist appointments, and regular life chaos... the quiet feels warm and inviting like a hot mug of tea and a warm glowing fireplace. People and activities tend to draw me into the present, keep me moving forward, hold me captive in the real world. But here, in these quiet moments, I can retreat into the other part of my being that just needs to feel the absence of my husband and go over and over it in my mind... He died. He really died. Did he really die? Yes, I remember it. My husband died. I have to remind myself, not in an obsessive way, or an inability to move on. But because the mind plays tricks and denial is still my friend :). How quickly I can move into that place where I am secretly telling myself he's just away on a trip and this has all been a terrible dream.
Jerry Sittser* uses another metaphor in his grappling with grief. He describes the relationships we have with others as dynamic, living, and always moving forward. Like a motion picture, it smoothly transitions from one scene to the next, always an awareness of more to come. Then suddenly, the screen freezes and the motion picture has turned into a snapshot suspended in time, incomplete. With a DVD, a person might take it out and clean it, or skip ahead to the next scene. In death, the relationship that was alive, moving forward, full-dimensional, is left incomplete, a snapshot, with no conclusion or resolve.
In the first couple of months after Lynn's death, I wrestled with all kinds of emotions inside. What was I supposed to do with a full heart of everything from anger and disappointment to total love and commitment towards a man that was no longer? How do I adjust from a dynamic motion picture, always an awareness of movement, the assumption that we would have the 75 year marriage that we signed up for...( Lynn always said our contract was for 75 years and after that we'd re-evaluate!)
Now, our marriage relationship is a snapshot, like a masterpiece that will never be finished, frozen in a frame of questions, doubts, memories, and regrets. I will never see the reward after marital struggle, the elastic nature of marriage, ebbing and flowing, pushing and pulling, but always bound together... resulting in a beautiful oneness that takes a lifetime to accomplish.
Now I am forced into a different life, a new motion picture, with a moving plot and riveting climax...?
But the snapshot will always remain, framed with gratitude and longing for what might have been.
*A Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sittser