Thursday, December 11, 2014
You Cannot Prepare
Here it is once again, Friday! I find it so hard to believe how fast the days turn into week which turn into months. And right around the corner is a new year. Time does not stand still even when I feel like I am standing still. But on Friday I like to write, along with a group of people who follow the Five Minute Friday prompts left for us by Kate Moutaung. This week the prompt is: prepare. We write for 5 minutes. No editing, no backtracking to make it perfect. Just writing. From the heart.
I really thought I could prepare. But I was, oh so wrong. You cannot prepare yourself for the death of your spouse. You can see it coming. You can get yourself ready. But there is just no preparation that will make it anything more than the most powerful experience you will ever go through in your life. The biggest event. The saddest. The most horrible.
I saw him start to fade in the early part of July. I knew he wouldn't make it through summer. I talked with a cool head to the hospice nurse. I explained it carefully to his grandchildren. My son and I stood in the kitchen, with our arms wrapped around each other, and knew it was coming. I told myself it was going to be okay. His suffering would end. And we would go on. And it would be okay. How hard could this be anyway? I had witnessed death before. I had lost my mom, my dad, grandparents, a baby girl,a mother-in-law, a brother-in-law, a sister-in-law. I had stood in the room with hundreds of patients and their families as their loved one had slipped quietly away. Some we fought hard to save. They didn't go quietly. But I had witnessed death. And I was prepared.
And then he died. I was in shock. I felt as if I was walking through mud. I got up each day and went through the motions of living my life. I made the preparations for his memorial service. We took care of the finalities of his very long and loving life. We said good-bye. We tied up the loose ends.
And then in the weeks that followed the grief hit me. It was more powerful than a tsunami. More powerful than a tornado. I cried enough tears to flood our town. My heart ached. It still aches. I couldn't move. I couldn't stand. I couldn't think. I'd turn to say a word to my husband; only to find him gone and start the grieving again. I couldn't prepare. There isn't a plan. Grief has gripped me in his ugly hands and squeezed my heart until it bursts. And then it happens again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the next day. And on and on and on.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.....