Even though we had wet snow today, with bad roads to accompany it, today is exceedingly better than what I went through a year ago December 5th. It was the last time I saw my wife’s face. We had a viewing for her during the funeral. I arrived at the church wondering if I could handle the emotional impact of seeing my spouse lifelessly in repose. As it turned out, I handled it better than I expected, but I kept thinking that all that I had experienced might eventually creep up on me when I least expected it. To a certain extent, that has been true.
There were pictures in the back of the church. Each of us, my two step-daughters and myself, had our own picture boards, containing our personally favorite photographs. I remember that I was somewhat upset because the two woman who were the funeral directors, ushered me up toward the casket in front. I had wanted to explain the stories behind many of the pictures, and their directives made it impossible to accomplish that.
There are a couple of unique coincidences that occurred recently. I received the tragic news that a good friend of mine passed away suddenly. It happened the day before the anniversary of my wife’s passing. It made me think about the first time the two of them met. We had taken my wife’s pick-up truck to church in order to pick up supplies for remodeling the house we had recently moved into. A minor mechanical problem occurred after leaving the service. I suggested we bring to a place I knew was open Sunday. When we pulled into the business, I saw my friend was there visiting with a mechanic on duty When I told the friend what the problem was, he immediately went into the shop, borrowed a couple tools, and made a quick fix of it. Needless to say, my wife was both grateful and impressed.
A second interesting thing is that today is my organization’s Christmas party. I am taking a woman as a guest who looks very similar, and has the same name as a young lady who was a good friend of my wife when we first met. I never found out what happened to the friend. My wife and her had some sort of falling out. In addition, my wife was spending all her free time with me. I never thought about that much until recently.
When you lose a spouse, or someone else close, there is a tendency to mark off the first anniversary, or the first holiday you are experiencing since the tragedy of their loss. I suppose today is the last such “first anniversary,” as I already went through Valentine’s day, our wedding anniversary, both of our birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time.
The other day I was reading about the five stages of grief. I told somebody close to me that I wasn’t fully at the “Acceptance” stage yet, though I think I’m getting there. Just because someone arrives at acceptance, it doesn’t mean they never grieve anymore.
Before my wife’s visitation ended and the casket was closed for the last time, I placed a note inside to be buried with her. I can’t remember what the note even said now. Hopefully, I haven’t broke any promises I made to her. For Valentine’s Day, I bought a card and placed it on her pillow in the bedroom. I opened it up recently and read it. I think I’ve done a good job keeping the posthumous pledge I wrote inside the card.
We opted for a Saturday burial. The homily was quite long, so we had to eat quickly and leave for the burial. There were only two workmen present at the cemetery. As it turned out, my two step-sons in-law and I, had to help carry the casket to the grave. Strange feeling being an impromptu pall bearer. Our final act of tribute was a graveside campaign toast to her colorful and robust life.
Tomorrow, I try to move on with my life once again. Today, I remember the last time ever I saw her face.© Robert Meyer
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