I think I've mentioned a time or fifty that I'm in a GriefShare class on Thursday evenings. I took it last semester, and in going through the workbook again I have found something interesting: I think I'm making progress. My answer last September to the question"What is the most difficult thing you are going through right now?" was "I feel like going on with my life is like leaving Dave behind." I will have to say that I've worked through that, partly by realizing his life stays with me in my heart. I've even slowly come to the decision that I would be OK to sell the house and downsize in the future. You have no idea how much progress just thinking about leaving this house is.
I scheduled a meeting Saturday morning with a worker who was going to give me bids for some projects that need to be done around the house. Loyal Brother-in-law was coming over, too, to help me through this process.
Before they came I was having my quiet time and thinking about Proverbs 29:18 that says, "The people without a vision perish. (They are unrestrained; they wander around.)" I was praying to become more purposeful in some of my decisions and directions. I decided to look the same verse up in The Message: "If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves. But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed." (Italics mine.) There was this strong realization that I can look at all the changes ahead of me as a good thing: as a new beginning. That I could fix the house up to sell it, and move to a home that is a more manageable size for one.
Definition of a nano second? The time it took me to well up with the exciting possibilities of change, and then crash into the Ugly Cry with the reality of moving. Drat. Two Excedrin and a morning nap later, I was ready to meet with the Change Crew. The meeting went very well, and was full of plans for getting the home ready to put on the market. That will be somewhere down the road when my emotional temperature become more normal.
Still thinking on this today, I crept into the back row of a church where no one knows me, and I can cry anonymously if needed. And the Pastor's first words? "'Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide...' so begins Lowell's great poem. You can start a new life today just by making wise choices. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. When the needs are great, you must make a CLEAR choice." He may as well have dismissed all the other congregants and walked back to my row; the sermon was clearly just for me. Let the others get to the restaurants early for good seats at lunch.
Moving on. Moving ahead. I know that part of what holds me back is that the last months of Dave's life keep playing through my mind, and I become full of "coulda, woulda, shoulda." I KNOW that I have a choice to remember the good instead, but I can't seem to unstick the pause button in my memory.
So, tonight I just sat in front of the fire and thought through the time I knew Dave. From when we met, got engaged and married, and all the good times to the end. And then I did something that surprised even me: I decided to watch the DVD of the funeral. I've had it laying on the coffee table for quite some time. I pick it up and put it down regularly, and often wonder how I'll know when the right time to watch it will be. Well, that would be: tonight.
And I was surprised by joy.
I'd forgotten how precious the service was. It was filled with love and laughter and happy memories. I even spoke at it, and my DVD'd self was reminding me that we'd been very purposeful with the terminal diagnosis. We'd spent good time together, and called the family in on what would be (unbeknownst to us) Dave's last weekend. My screen self told the story of how we'd prayed daily that "everything that needed to be said would be said, and everything that needed to be done would be done." That we believed that "abundant life" was for now, and not for some day. That Dave and I had watched a DVD that was a montage of pictures of his life, and when it was over he turned to me and said, "We had a very good life, didn't we?"
Yes, we did. And here is to believing that someday, hopefully soon, I will only remember the good times and not the terminal last days. "Pain may endure through the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning."
Looking for a new day to dawn.