Those first few hours after you lose your spouse, the non-stop swirling of thoughts rushing through the mind is overwhelming. The emotional bursts of fear, dread, hopelessness, and anxiety take your breath away. Not only do you enter grief overwhelmed with the arrangements, but then comes the visitation and the funeral.
When my husband Dan died, we had some 250 people pass through his visitation. As much as I tried to absorb all the love and comfort they offered through words, flowers, memorial gifts, and notes, I could not take it all in. At times I knew that people were talking to me, yet I could not focus on their words because my mind was in such a fog.
But even though I missed some of the conversations, their visits gave me great peace. I knew that many had taken time away from work, and that some had driven very long distances to show their respect. I knew that Dan would have been well-pleased. Whether or not I was fully aware during the visit didn’t matter; having loved ones present gave great comfort!
Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you. Take care you don’t stray from the straight path, the way of truth, and you will safely reach the end of your road. —Proverbs 4:25-26
I was going to deliver my husband’s eulogy, so I had to get my act together. No one on earth knew him as well as I did, so it was not only my honor to speak at his Celebration of Life, but I knew it would have pleased him. I had to hold my head up and focus.
I am almost four years out since his death. It is odd the strange things I remember and the other things that got lost in the fog of the moment. I just knew that the visitation and funeral were the beginning of lots of decisions and bittersweet times ahead.
Anyone who has been through this has experienced some people saying the wrong things. That is because people are at a loss themselves. I can remember decades ago when my daddy died. I was still in high school, and he was my everything. He was at retirement age when I was born, which made him 80 when he died. I will never forget one person trying to console me by saying, “You should be thankful he lived this long.” Not what a teenager wanted to hear, because love has no age barriers. But even when well-meaning people say the wrong thing, I still find it better they are present because a person’s presence speaks volumes.
CAN YOU RELATE?
It is hard to hold our heads high when we feel bent down so low from grief. Do you recall experiencing grief so deep that you thought you couldn’t face the day? Did words of comfort from another soul give you strength to force yourself to stand? Perhaps it was a scripture you love. God works in many different avenues! Join me in tomorrow’s study to see how the comfort of others can be God’s way of giving hope and removing fear.