I cry these days. Honestly, I cry fairly often. I do so late at night, when all is quiet, and all I can hear is the wind, or the silence. I’ve become comfortable with my tears, I’ve grown into my grief, and I know it remains a remarkable teacher in my Life.
At times I just ache with the yearning to talk to Christine, my late first wife. I wish I could listen to her tell me what the look on Justin’s face means, or what the tone of his voice is saying, or why he needs to be alone so often, or at least at a distance. I wish we could swap sermon stories and ideas, or I could hear her sing to me, or I could listen to that outrageous laugh of hers.
At times I smile and weep in thinking of Patty, my second wife, who has also passed, and who was Christine’s good friend. We loved driving all about the countryside and finding a dump of a restaurant that we trusted would have good soup and great pie. We sang while we drove, and would then decide what tearjerker movie to watch that night. I laugh when I think how much I miss her booming laugh.
I wish my good friends Forrest Church and Bob Shober were still around. Forrest made me my mind think, stretch and grow, and made me realize I should take my gifts more seriously. Bob gave me hope and made Life seem so much more worth the effort. Good male friends are so damn hard to find.
I miss my sister. She was so miserable before she died, and I had so little patience left. I just did not want to be a caregiver anymore. I wept over Christmas, wondering how it would have been to have spent another Christmas Eve and morning with her. Still, down deep I knew nothing would have made much of a difference. She deserved so much better. Maybe we all do.
I miss my Mom and Dad a lot. Their absence is smaller now, less gnawing, but I cannot believe my whole family is gone. Time is brutally quick, and the memories so swift and fleeting and frequently foggy. The days are like dominos falling, and the end is coming – I know it in my bones.
I have lost other good friends, and sadly, even the spiritual anchor of my home church, and grief has become my daily companion. We must listen to our losses. We must leap into the wide depths of these black holes shaped by death or departure, not to indulge the pain, but to remind us we cherished it all, and still do. I would ask for one more day if only we could, and how we want more. Yes, we truly do.
Jesus wept when he lost Lazarus. Not heaving sighs of grief. Just a few quiet tears late at night in the stillness, when nobody else was around, and he just wished things were the way they once were, He too was stunned by the savagery of loss, but also how loss sweetened the deal – enabling us to know just how much we cared and loved and forgave. I bet the disciples were confused by his tears, just as my friends will be after reading this piece – are you OK they will ask?
Yes, I am. I am fine. I am also human and the losses hurt and the quick passages are stunning and leave me dumbstruck, and the longing to return remains bold and beautiful, and we merrily roll along knowing we cannot catch up with Time. It is the way of Life, and it is a tough road, not one often traveled, but as for me, well, I do love the back roads.
I like journeys which include detours and dead ends and places ironically called overlooks, begging us not to overlook their beauty. I know the gentle anxiety I so often fell these days is intimately bound to my aging, and the wisdom which comes when we sense home is just around the corner. It simply cannot be helped, nor should it be. It is something to accept, embrace, and yes, even enjoy.
How foolish to go through Life by freeway, where there are no overlooks where we can witness the stunning beauty of our memories, or the unique perspective of our losses. Slow, meandering, back roads, that is the way to go, at least for the soul.
Once the tears cease, my soul calms and I drift to sleep. My dreams will be vivid and filled with want, and I will greet the morning with affection and deep appreciation.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.