Be warned, this is a self indulgent post; you may choose to abandon now.
I am not a person for whom happiness comes easily now which is one of the great ironies of life. My middle name, Kay, is Celtic for happy but it seems, along with that name, I’ve also inherited the Celts propensity for ennui.
A lot of time, especially since Dave’s death, and, let’s face it, perhaps most of the time, I push through a fog of listlessness. It’s only sometimes the joy of heaven breaks through, catching me completely unawares at what eternity will be and further cementing my desire to stay true.
It’s nigh on nine years since Dave’s death and closer to eleven since he was diagnosed with cancer. I’m not entirely sure at which point my heart finished breaking but the first crack appeared when the young resident broke the news, “It’s stage 4 lung cancer.”
It was hard to breath. Impossible even. Tension was palpable as Dave fought for control and my lap was being soaked with silent tears coursing down my face. The young resident looked very uncomfortable. As the silence in the room deepened and lengthened she abruptly rose from her stool, excused herself and scurried from the room.
My arm wrapped around Dave as he laid his hand on my head. Breath returned, slowed, as our universe in each other righted.
We were never publically demonstrative toward each other. The need to be reassured by constantly touching was never part of who we were. A glance, a smile affirmed and reaffirmed our place together. Lest you think this was always the way with us, it was not. Those first couple of married years (after a six year courtship developing a foundational friendship) were fraught with unease as he came to grips with, as he might have seen the betrayal of his re-marriage.
Cathy was, from all accounts (she and I never met), brilliant in many ways and the way that turned out to be most important, to me at least, she gave Dave permission, even urged him, to re-marry. For many years, Cathy had battled cancer and succumbed the year before I met Dave and when we met, he was an empty shell. He was trying for suicide by smoking and drinking too much; even so, a man who would grieve as he was made me determined to see what was left when he came out the other side. It never occurred to me he might not.
You may ask, “Why are you writing about this again?” and my reply is, “You may choose to stop reading.”
~ gentle smile ~
To answer your question, I’m writing about this again because I think about it all the time but there is no one who is willing to simply listen. People want to say (and have), “Whew! Are you still blathering on about that?” Grief makes people uncomfortable; they want to box grief, tie it with a great ribbon and bow and pretend it never happened. They fear some might think them tottering on the brink. Writing about that, in some gentle, odd way gives me hope to move forward (where will I go if not forward, eh?) and, possibly, it might help someone else. People e-mail me to say they are in similar circumstances…a loved one diagnosed with terminal illness, someone in the stage of passing, someone is grieving, they need help getting their affairs in order, etc. It’s a long list and will, eventually, be pertinent to us all. If my nattering helps, then the transparency is worthwhile; aren’t we to bear each other’s burdens?
Western world, for the most part, is comfortable with lust but not love. Throughout all media lust is so thrust, pun intended, into our lives that unless it’s extremely coarse, it’s not even noticed. Magazines at the grocery line checkout show women with breasts spilling out of their clothes and swimwear leaves nothing to the imagination yet most don’t even register as they glance at the covers.
I don’t have subscription television and the few times I see a screen I’m appalled at how debased “entertainment” has become. Recently I received a very attractive offer to subscribe to satt television. It was a siren’s call, especially as my back has kept me more closely contained inside and I nearly fell for it.
I’m the keeper of my home and I choose gentleness. The books and Acorn television shows I read and watch ensure the good guys win and when there is lewdity I’m so old fashioned, prudish even, I leave the room. In a world gone made with demonic activity the goodness and gentleness is important to me and I’m good with men doing dark deeds to keep me (and us) safe from harm. To those folks doing just that you have my complete gratitude and thank you, thank you!
Oh, the aforementioned sound of my heart breaking? It became a chasm the morning I received word Dave died and time stopped even as an uncaring world continued and Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy was pushed toward completion. Perhaps my heart hasn’t shown the damage but my health has suffered but it’s nothing, I claim, that can’t be corrected with time, etc. and with God’s help. To be sure the medical community (iow, AMA and Big Pharm) will say one cannot be injured or die from a broken heart but life proves otherwise. People do suffer physical, emotional, spiritual injury from a shock which is so great, so enormous the body cannot cope and, in self defense, chooses another path. Perhaps those people will never know the effects of a broken heart but they’ll also never know the extreme happiness or sorrow that precludes and comes after.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead, Put crepe bows around the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good.” are the words of W. H. Auden.
God kept me from dying and there are many reasons, some of which only are known to Him but I know He wanted me to continue stewardship over what He allowed Dave and I to have. “The animals,” I once told Dave, “will keep me from following you” and they have. With every breath I’m closer to eternity and as each animal dies in turn, my universe continues to shift, realign, shrink.
Dave and I often talked about the impregnable fortress of emotional attachment we were building and he warned me, time and again, of the danger of being left.
It was worth it.
It is worth it.
Many many many times I cry out to God for Jesus with skin on and a cat will jump in my lap or a dog will lay their head on my shoulder or a horse will head hug me. It’s not what one usually thinks of when “Jesus with skin on” is mentioned but God’s ways are not my ways and I choose to trust Him.
This affliction I have, this broken heart syndrome He holds in the palm of His great hand. His arms uphold me and He loves me; I am the apple of His eye as He rejoices over me with singing!
Will God repair my broken heart? I am willing and know He is able even as I don’t know if He is willing. But I know He will…if not in this world, then the next and while I am waiting I choose to trust Abba.
Peace be to us, now and always.