A Village of Hearts by Patricia Copp (September 2012)
It’s been a year and a half since my dear husband died after a long illness, and there are still many days when it is very difficult to accept, to bear the loss, to handle the emptiness that surrounds me. The struggle is enormous.
People – friends – brought me books and articles on how to cope. Our four daughters worked magic during the illness and through the death and the ensuing days. They rearranged their lives to give me incredible support, encouraging me to somehow stay the course of going on with life. The Prayer Group at our church continues quietly steadfast, enveloping me with care and prayer.
I am still so new at being a widow, that unfamiliar title I share with too many others. We each cope with it differently and I doubt if anyone has the key. But as I write my thoughts on this painful subject, one thing presents itself – it takes a Village of Hearts to approach the beginning of healing – of even wanting to heal. It seems at times, insurmountable.
It was easier – more comforting, less threatening to stay at home, safe with my memories where I feel my husband’s presence. And then a friend lost her husband — suddenly – no warning at all, and my numbness found compassion, and the compassion helped me begin to see, to feel again. My God, I am but one of many. I was/am a recipient of sympathy and a partner in commiseration simultaneously. I UNDERSTAND — maybe, just maybe, I can provide some support. There is some healing in helping – at least for me.
The roller coaster of emotions – from tears to ‘if others can make it – I can,’ to talking to him, about him and emulating him, keep his soul alive and give me courage.
I recall the team of the Southeastern VNA encouraging me to be an example and cheering on our daughters and me as we wrapped their father — my husband of 59 years, in love. And they were kind enough to guide us toward the SE Hospice when it was time.
It helps to be with positive, compassionate people, to avoid those who are downers – and pray. A good cry (which often comes unbidden and so unexpectedly) often lifts the weight enough to be able to find resolve to go forward – even a little at a time. It’s a tall order to adjust to widowhood, to cope with this new life. I need to work at it. Children, grandchildren – he lives in all of them. Life goes on.
Ah, life – maybe that’s the hidden key. Live in the present – look to the future. Cultivate hope. Pay tribute to my husband by using the joy and happiness of our 59 years as a strength.
My Village of Hearts — what would I do without them.
I’m counting my blessings. Thanks be to God.