Long Shadows of Seasons
Until July 1, 2008, I walked this journey with my husband. It was his Valley of the Shadow of Death. It was mine to share with him and I have no regrets that we walked the last steps together.
The moment that he left this world and entered into the arms of Glory, I began my own journey. I began trying to find my way out of these shared shadows. After yesterday’s melt down after filing for the Death Benefit, I realized more than ever that the Shadows that belonged to him are now my own to dwell or to dispel.
Even though, I understood in my mind that this journey is not over, but entering into a level that requires me to move alone through this Valley, I am finding the grief and the pain deepening. Each day, I awake to this trial and I don’t know if I have the strength to pull through this darkness.
After coming home from the Social Security office, I was struck by the visual illustration that was laying on that desk. As I viewed these documents, it was a sobering moment. I saw his worn and tatered Social Security card, my social security card, birth certificates, marriage license, death certificate, his and my drivers liscenses, all of these document were silently stating that he had lived, loved and died. As a collage, these fragments of time, was illustrating how terribly short that our life together was. Most of all, it brought my loss of future, my loss of happiness and my feeling of despair to a new level.
All of these pieces of paper were necessary so that the agent could certify that I was entitled to a death benefit. It was the essence of his existence that was missing from the inanimate paper. It was a hollow ring of a bell that I heard in my head. It was the realization that it wasn’t just his life lying there in a scrambled pile, but it was my life there laying in random order. My birth certificate, my marriage liscense, my social security card, all of my life events were represented and presented with a death certificate. The full weight of understanding that my life was over as well.
For the first time, I realized that life as I had known it died on July 1, 2008. All of my dreams that were once shared and were a part of my very fiber are as gone as he is. My future has been consumed with dark shadows and total emptiness. I was born, I loved and married this man, and I remain as his beneficiary. That is all. That is my sum total at this moment.
I realized in that instant, that I had no hopes and no dreams that were outside of him. I had no secret desires of self promotion that excluded him. The shadows of my future lost was bearing hard against me.
My feeling of being so cheated and short changed was hitting me like a tital wave. As statistics, I was so impacted by the lack of substance that our lives are. For a moment, I understood that I was as dead inside as this death certifcate states that he is physically. My future, my hopes and dreams, my other self…all gone. I was not prepared to endure this stark revelation and another deeper wave of grief blindsided me that at that very moment in that setting. I felt the panic rise inside me and I desperately wanted out of there.
It was a revelation that began to grow and it was overwhelming my soul. As I sat in that chair in a gray and cold cubicle, I felt my life with my husband reduced and diminished to the point of extinction. It is over. It really is over…my dream of loving him and growing old with him is over.
I made it out of those sterile offices and got in my vehicle. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to drive to the nearest bar and get totally drunk. I wanted to make this pain stop…I hadn’t had that thought or desire for years. This was an old shadow that I thought that was eliminated, but apparantly not.
As I struggled with this strange need for obliteration, I decided that this temptation was one that I could not allow myself to bear alone. I needed help and I needed to call someone that understood what this kind of desire brings to a soul.
I called my brother in law. My husband’s brother has known this same temptation and I knew that I had to hear words from someone who knew how deep this desire goes and how dangerous it is to give into it.
At this darkest of moments, I recalled how my husband told me that he knew that I wanted to “check out” but I had to stay because my grandsons would be devastated and I told this to my husband’s brother. Until this very moment, I explained to him that I never had those thoughts on a conscience level . I knew that I was in deep, deep trouble.
The pain of the finality of all my hopes and dreams, the realization that this life as I knew and needed it to be was lost. Being reduced to a few pieces of paper was almost more than I could bear. I didn’t know how to make a life without his brother and I didn’t want another life without him in it….the pain was so deep and raw that I wanted to just go somewhere I didn’t feel it for a moment. I needed something to break this overpowering hurt that seems to build on a daily basis.
As I knew he would, his brother began to pray. He prayed for my release of this torment and he prayed that this terrible pain would pass as quickly as possible. He also reminded me that my husband has joined several people that are friends who have unexpectedly and recently passed. He reminded me that they are a part of that “great cloud of witness” that is talked about in Hebrews.
He said that he truly believed that all of those who love us and that we love are concerned with the things that take place with their loved ones. He reminded me that they see with a clear vision as we only see as in a “glass darkened”. His words began to fill what was so empty a few minutes before and I began to feel this terrible pain inside subside.
It isn’t that I didn’t expect this kind of emotional devastation. I knew that this loss would reduce and diminish me. But, no one can help you understand the potential pain that becomes a force in and of itself. It looms over your very existance to kill your heart, steal your future and destroy your soul. At this moment, my feelings were not only my shadows, but they were becoming my enemy. Ones that I could not allow to take control.
What frightens me more is that I know that this pain isn’t totally fulfilled. I know that I have yet to experience its total intensity. I know this in my head and it paralysis my heart with great fear.
These are my shadows. They are as dark a time as I have ever known. I know that I must make a new path but I am frozen here in this deep well of pain for whatever time is…
I have to learn to deal with its intensity. I have to also know when to not push and to rest.
I am in the deepest of forrest surrounded by dark and deadly obsticles that purpose my fall. I am so tired and weary of the emptiness yet, I realize that this is the beginning and there are many more trials ahead that are just as painful, if not more so, than my present pain.
I am also afraid of the next
revelation. How much will my heart be able to endure. How long before I begin to find my way out of these shadows?
I have no answers, just a slight glimmer of hope that has no source, but God, Himself.