I have relived the events of August 30th so many times in my head. Rewind. Replay. I want a different ending. I don’t get one. I want answers. They don’t come. I heard the other day that within the first 10 seconds you have five immediate reactions to tragic news. I believe I experienced every single one.
Flee – Run away. As fast as I can. This cannot be happening. If I run, escape, it will not be real. It is a movie playing out on the shore. Someone else’s body. Not my husband’s. Who are these people wrapping their arms around me? Let me go. I’m okay. I can go back to my chair. Soak up the sun. Listen to the waves slapping the shore. Peace. If I run, I can hide. If I hide, it will be okay. But then I open my eyes. And see it is real. And I have to stay. I have to see. I have to believe.
Embrace – Hold on. To Greg. To Ashley, Ryan, Tyler. As tight as I possibly can. For the moment. Forever. Do Not Let Them Go. If I hold on tight enough, it will be okay. If I hold on tight enough, he will breathe. But he doesn’t. So I hold his hand. Cold. Getting colder. I hold it for as long as I can. And then they make me walk away.
Anger – Raging. Mad. You can’t do this to me. You can’t leave me like this. Alone. Come back. Now. You should have taken better care of yourself. I told you to rest. I told you not to work so hard. I told you I was worried. You should have listened. It’s not fair. But life is not always fair.
Sad – Devastated. Lost. Endless tears. Waves that keep hitting me over and over again. Harder and harder. Heart Aches. Pain. The sadness is overwhelming. I fall asleep. And suddenly awake. Terrified. What if he was in pain? What if he knew? The tears flow. They won’t stop. I’ve never felt such sadness. Will it never stop? Will it ever go away? This hurts. So bad. Go away. Sometimes I’m okay. And then it sweeps in like a raging storm. It’s possessive. Stronger than me. I can’t win. So I let the tears flow. Until there’s nothing left. Because really, that’s all I can do.
Find a Solution – Why? Why does God take good people when there are so many bad ones left in the world? I search in my mind for things I’ve done wrong. Was I being punished? No. I need to be real. Rational. Sane. This is not part of someone’s will. Nor retribution for past behavior. It just is. But I need it to make sense. It never will. So I need to focus on how I can carry on the legacy of a man who deserved to live. A man who stood for goodness, kindness, honesty, and integrity. Maybe this is my purpose. If so, I must do it the best I can. To honor him. His memory. That is the ONLY solution. The ONLY answer. Be good. Do good. Live good. Love good. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took God’s hand when I heard the call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah, yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, God set me free.”
― Harold S. Kushner