The husband of a dear friend of mine has just died. My soul is aching with hers.
It is my wont to be able to extract at least a few fitting words to say on almost any occasion, but in this, I have fallen far far short. I cannot find my voice. I search for words of some import that could stem the bleeding of her heart. There are none.
I would like to be able to say to her, "I understand how you feel, Peg."
But I do not have a clue. While she is reaching out in the night across her bed searching in her sleep for the warmth that was Dwight for 33 years, I still can talk to, love, and touch my husband.
No, I do not have a clue.
Yes, I have known grief. But I have not known hers.
I would like to be able to tell her that over time, the fog will lessen, the vice grip on her emotions will loose, and she will once again notice the stars.
But, really, how am I to know any of this is true?
And even if I did, those sentiments right now would ring as hollow as a penny dropped in an empty barrel.
I have never visited the city of widowhood.
I have read about this city. Others have told me about their moving there, and how their lives have been since the move. I have even taught "Widowhood" in my Gerontology classes for 30 years, passing onto others the lay of the land.
But it is all second hand. Academic.
I have not had to live there.
It is where my sweet friend Peg lives now.
As she gets her bearings, I feel I have little to offer her. She knows she has my love and my prayers, but I can't even hug her....she lives across the country from me.
The grand irony is that while I feel hopelessly inadequate, she really is doing all the giving. Because after one 45-minute phone call with Peg, I already am hugging my husband a little bit tighter, sitting a little closer to him on the loveseat..... achingly aware that we only have today with each other. We are not promised tomorrow.
I thank you, Peg. Your strength and courage inspire me. Your faith reinforces mine. I love you so much.
What I know for sure about you is that you will finish well the journey that you and D started together.
That, I know.