I’ve been thinking about words. Words that make phrases. Phrases that can be damaging. Without intent. Words and phrases that are said with good intentions but come from either not knowing or truly unknowing.
The thinking process of these words and phrases comes from my intense grief. I over think, I admit it. In this particular thinking, I’m not alone. I’m more than sure that many who have, or are currently in, grief, think about this.
I’ve been exceptionally blessed with my community of love that surrounded Handsome Husband and me and our kids through his illness, and I’ve remained fully aware of how that love has only grown since his death. (That I even have to write that last bit still freaks me out).
People seldom know what to say to someone who is grieving. They know that there are no words that really help so they stumble about, and oft-times come up with clichéd phrases that are well-meant but just aren’t…well….helpful.
Here’s my take on death and grief. I don’t believe that God, however you may describe Him/Her/It, had anything to do with Handsome Husband’s illness or death. In an earlier blog, written when he was in hospice, I wrote about my daughter and I re-defining the word miracle. I know so many were praying for one for him and I understood the intent and appreciated it. The thing is, I didn’t then, and don’t now, understand the whole process of praying when someone is ill. Or, at least, praying for recovery. My argument being that, if a person dies anyways, which they often do, does that mean someone didn’t pray hard enough? With the deeper question being-does the God of any one person’s understanding, sit around saying to Him/Her/Itself “Well, this person didn’t have enough people praying hard enough, so I’m going to let them die“? Seriously?
The person dies. And we start hearing “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” “God wanted another angel”. “He’s in a better place”. And blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I love that so many have offered comfort to me. The words of comfort have often been regarding signs of Handsome Husband around me, or his spirit still being with me. As humans, I think, we need to believe that something tangible is left after death, that our loved ones communicate with us in some way, and the signs are all around us, if only we see.
None of that has happened for me. Look at your computer keyboard and finger the delete key. Press it. Whatever is on your screen just disappeared. That’s what happened to Handsome Husband in my life. Gone. Deleted. Forever. There have been no signs. I don’t feel his spirit. Nothing. Sometimes I feel like I’ve disappointed people when I’ve said that, because they want me to be comforted by signs and his presence and it’s just not there.
Here is what people have said/done that has been of comfort to an amazing degree, and I truly experienced it at my niece’s wedding: Upon seeing me, my nieces, my nephews, my sisters-in-law, and many others, simply hugged me tightly and said the word “yes”. And continued hugging me.
Today, here in Indiana, I visited with Handsome Husband’s uncle and aunt, who own a farm nearby. They have experienced grief to a very deep level with the death of their adult son 4 years ago. We greeted each other and sat down to visit. Uncle Bill came over to me, knelt next to my chair, and clearly wanted to say something. Anything. But he knew that there are no words. So he just took my hand and squeezed it and looked me right in the eyes and said, very simply “I know”. Which caused the tears to flow from me instantly because my soul connected with that. His aunt Leah hugged me as I said goodbye, and hugged me long and said the same thing. “I know“. Two little words that carried all the acknowledgment of my sadness and pain. Not trying to make me feel better. Which made me feel….better.
So many of you who are known to me personally, so many of you I’ve met along my traveling road, who have simply hugged me, or touched your hand to your heart, or clasped my hand-you simply acknowledge, and you tell me that in your touch.
I only mention any of this as a gentle reminder. You don’t have to have the answers for me, or strive to find something for me so that my hurt stops hurting. I know what is in your hearts and I want to let you know that it’s alright not to say anything big or complicated. I know your love for me, and a hug is all that’s necessary. And, yes, a plain and simple “Yes“. Because you get it.
Love. It’s what remains after Handsome Husband’s death. His love for me, mine for him. Our love story. That is a tangible for me. Maybe someday things will change and I’ll suddenly feel him in some way. Until then, or if then, I’m remembering his love. Which was so much, and enough. As is yours to me, and mine to you~