Goodbye, Friend

About three hours ago, one of my dear friends from church passed away. My friend had been in the hospital (the same one where Steve died) for over a week but I could not bring myself to go visit him. Although seven years have passed, some things are still too painful for me. The idea of visiting a friend in a coma in that very hospital filled me with anxiety. It seems crazy because the circumstances were COMPLETELY different. My friend was sick. Steve was in an accident. Nothing at all related. They didn’t even know each other!

Don’t get me wrong, I have visited others in the hospital during the past seven years. I have even been to THAT hospital. But, every time I do it, I am filled with anxiety. I have felt nauseous and sometimes even light headed. I don’t know if it’s the smell of a hospital or the look of someone I care about in a hospital bed, but I have never been the same since that October day when I lost Steve.

So, as I sit here on the Eve of Thanksgiving, I am taken back to that first holiday season without him. Thanksgiving was just a day to “get through” that year. Me and the kids had dinner with some friends like we usually did for Thanksgiving. I don’t remember much about that day. I guess I held myself together although I’m not sure. I just know that it was comforting to be with friends who let me be sad if I felt like it. I didn’t have to put on a “happy face” because I was still reeling from losing Steve a month earlier.

When Christmas rolled around, I decided to take the kids to Michigan (we live in Georgia) to spend the holiday with our family. As I was packing, I became overwhelmed with the feeling that I was leaving Steve. My mind told me it was irrational; he was dead so how could I be leaving him? But my heart just knew that he was in Georgia and we were going to Michigan. Steve and I had not spent a Christmas apart in over 10 years and we would most definitely be apart that year. It was one of the most difficult things I did in those early months. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know. I spent Christmas with family so how could it have been so difficult? The only answer I have is that nothing about my world made sense to me so leaving the home I shared with Steve didn’t seem right to me either.

I am happy to say that our holidays are now filled with family, friends and laughter. I will think of Steve fondly during the holidays and even get sad that he isn’t sharing them with us. But, I know Steve would be proud of me for making good holiday memories for our children rather than spending these precious days in mourning.

As I say goodbye to my friend, I will pray for his wife because she needs God’s extra loving care during this first holiday season without him. I know all too well how confusing it is when half of you is suddenly gone.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. donnacopeland
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 18:05:54

    One thing you say in this post makes perfect sense to me and that is that a lot about grief doesn’t make sense. You can logically think something through yet when you are in the moment you can still react in a way that isn’t what you had planned or even what you would have done previously.

    Kudos to you for helping to normalize the grieving experience and to share with people that it DOES continue beyond the first year.

    Like

    Reply

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