I post this hoping it might help someone else realize this process of grieving is like a roller coaster with its many ups and downs. It goes away and reappears when we least expect it to. We just need to allow it to happen if we're to survive. |
It has been many months since John died and I've not posted here at all. I've been trying to simply get thru each day and some how, some way, I'm still here. It's been 8 months since his death and I still miss this wonderful man and always will. But it has become tolerable. I hated it when people said to me at the time .. "things will get better - time heals all..." It doesn't; it just softens the bruising some what. John and I were married for 55 wonderful years and had 8 children. This man carved his footprint deep in all our hearts and souls.
My beloved John died as he lived, peaceful and serene, surrounded by his loving family. We knew the end of his long struggle with the dreaded Parkinson’s was near. His poor tortured body was beginning to shut down; he was tired and worn down by infection and weakness. He fought with great strength and courage until he simply had no more left to give. He was finally ready to put his head back and say goodbye. And he did so with peace, dignity and acceptance - no twisting, no turning, no agitation, no anxiety.
He had been in and out of consciousness for several days. He knew we were all there with him as we talked gently and reminisced about the many good times we shared. I held his hand, gently stroked his head and shoulders, gave him ice chips to suck, and wiped his eyes and face with cool cloths. He would open his eyes, nod his head and smile at a particularly special memory. It was about noontime on the day he died and someone mentioned there was soup in the kitchen if anyone wanted something to eat. He indicated that everyone should leave him and shooed them out with a hand gesture and a mumbled “Go – everyone.”
Then he reached out and pulled at my hand -
“No – not you – you stay,” he said quietly.
He pulled me close to him and I thought he wanted to whisper something in my ear. Instead he kissed me slowly and deeply as if we were new lovers. His kiss was so loving, strong yet gentle and so sensual that it spread warmth and passion throughout my body. He gently broke that connection, opened his eyes, and looked straight into the windows of my soul. He tugged me close to his chest and kissed me again. That’s when I instinctively knew he was saying his final goodbye. I’m certain he knew it also. I gently stroked his face and he closed his eyes. I put my mouth next to his ear and said almost inaudibly
“Oh Johnny G, are you going to go and die on me?” He nodded a careful slow and tender response. I could only whisper softly and rpeatedly, “It’s O.K. love … I’ll be sad and will cry … but it’s O.K. … I’ll be O.K. You can go my love … just let go … I know how tired you are … so very tired ... you’ve worked too long and hard for some peace ... It’s O.K … I’ll cry and be sad … I’ll miss you every day for the rest of my life … but it’s O.K. … go now … I’ll love you forever and will be with you soon … wait for me … stay with me in spirit until then … now go and rest … you deserve it my sweet sweet husband.” He died that evening at 11:00 o’clock, very quietly and I think … I hope … untroubled.
Eight months have passed since the biggest funeral our small hometown has ever seen. I do cry and I am sad and I do miss him. There was small comfort in knowing more than 1600 people crowded into the small church to wish him well on his final journey. He was a proud, strong spirit and there was not a single person that didn’t feel the loss of this very special guy.
He always said he wanted to be buried at sea and the kids and I determined we would honor his wishes. His body was cremated and we took his ashes to the ocean at Long Beach Island for one last visit to the sea he loved so much. Each of us carried a small container with some of his ashes and stood together at the edge of the pounding surf letting the never-ending waves wash over our feet and just as quickly return to the sea again and again. It was a wonderful, undisturbed moment to think private thoughts about this wonderful man and the unwavering love connecting us to him. As we silently tossed his ashes into the pounding surf, we were filled with love and homage for this gentle warrior.
We watched quietly as bits of his ashes were gently swooped up and carried out to sea by the ocean breeze. Freeing him to ride the eternal waves of the sea brought an acceptance and calm understanding that death is not necessarily a sad ending.
It just might be a joyous beginning.