Saturday, October 18, 2014

Grateful for Grief

Dear John,
Today I made my monthly shopping trip to Goshen. I went to the Farmers Market and the co-op, to Michael's for crochet thread, to Petco for cat supplies, and to Kohl's for what turned out to be a bunch of things. I went for a second set of flannel sheets and walked into a sale, so I ended up with new bathroom towels and bedroom slippers. Our old towels were threadbare and my bedroom slippers were worn as slick as glass on the bottoms. I spent $92 and saved $140, so I did well.
I ate lunch at Wendy's - another pulled pork sandwich. I'd planned to come have lunch with you. But it rained all day and never got out of the 40s, so I ate there. I saw a couple in their seventies come in and envied them, thinking how sorry I am that I didn't get to grow old with you. It didn't take long for my envy to evaporate. They didn't look at or talk to each other through the entire meal. It certainly wasn't how we were. And I realized that I'd rather grieve than live like that. I would rather have had a wonderful marriage ended too soon by death, than have a living husband that didn't look at or speak to me.
It seems that there are worse tragedies than being widowed. From the day we met, I never doubted that you loved me. We enjoyed every second that we were together. I know that you fought so hard to live because you didn't want to leave me. And I know that you still love me, pray for me, and are waiting for me. I would rather be temporarily separated from a man I love and who loves me, than be with someone that I don't even want to look at or talk to. That is true tragedy.
Thank you for my grief, for being the man that I love too much to want to live without. Thank you for my present pain, so much better than the pain of a marriage like the one I saw today. The depth of my mourning is the measure of our love for each other. My cup overflows with both. And for that, I am grateful.
Tonight I'll sleep on new flannel sheets. I will be sad that you aren't here to cuddle up with me. But I'll remember cuddling with you under the other set, and I'll smile. I'll remember all the meals at Wendy's, where we stayed and talked for an hour or more after the meal was done. And my heart will be full and grateful.
Eager to look at and talk to you again,

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