Yet I Live   Leave a comment

When my husband passed away last spring, I had strange feelings which accompanied my grief. These feelings went on for the first few months, and I am sure they would have continued much longer and much stronger if we had been younger or if his death had not been preceded by many years of decline which prepared me or if I had not maintained a strong sense of self (a strong spiritual self) that was separate from him and our marriage.

This morning, during prayer and meditation, I had a sudden insight into understanding these feelings. The causes are very simple and obvious to me now.

When a spouse dies, the surviving one in the marriage not only loses a husband or wife, a best friend, and a companion, the remaining one also loses themselves and their identity. The person we were as a spouse, married to the one who has passed away, no longer exists. We grieve for the loss of two people: the one who has gone to God and ourselves who remain but are gone also because much of the context of who we were is gone. The couple dies with the one who passes. In this sense there are three deaths in our grief – our spouse, ourselves, and the marriage. We miss “us.” We miss and grieve for who we were and who we could have been.

This certainly accounts for the eerie feelings I had for so many months after my husband Tom passed away. It is somewhat like being on stage, before a huge audience, with no script and no role to play. Some of the questions one unconsciously poses to self are what do I do, what do I say, who am I? We begin to walk down a new road to find the answers to these questions and many more. This is the work before us to continue our lives. We walk alone but with God. There is no other way. Yet we live.

“. . . I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” Galatians 2:19b-20

“Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.” (Closing prayer, Divine Mercy Chaplet)

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Posted April 16, 2012 by ouidaofs in Death of spouse, Grief

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