Someone wise told me the more I wrote about my sorrow the faster I would heal. So the writing continues so the healing can. I reach down into my tight little psyche to see what might need to see the light. It’s dark in here. The memories are sleeping. Why should I disturb them or bring a tear to my own eye?
It is December 23, 2004, and I am sitting in the family section of the funeral home. Across the room lies the body of my husband in his casket. The minister is telling us about Bob’s life (the things I told him, for he never met the deceased.) I am thinking that I must just get through the service; it is no time for a breakdown. Everyone is beyond exhausted. My son and sister and I have flown in from Atlanta to bury him in Memphis, Tennessee. Christmas has been disrupted by this death, as has been my life, But I am soldiering on.
Before the service, an old college friend comes up to say something to me, “Your life has been so sad,” she says, shaking her head in disbelief. I am not really there; just going through the motions. The minister’s eulogy is going on and I hear sleet beginning to hit the roof; it is zinging like a choir of ice angels.
At the graveside, we are seated and someone gives us blankets for our knees. My son sits beside me and we say to each other how beautiful the cemetery looks. The sleet has painted everything silver and poinsettias stand brilliantly against the storm. Bob is lowered into the ground. I remain outside myself and know that I have been a trooper. I have finally faced the worst day of my life. It has been hanging, like the sword of Damocles, over my head for almost five years. Now the worst has happened.
Beloved boy, whom I knew when you were in the fourth grade with me, I give you back to the earth. You loved me so deeply and so truly. The thing I can do for you is to share my passion for writing with others, as you prayed I would do. You will always be right here over my shoulder, playing the keyboard like a piano, as someone said I did. That is how I write the best, not knowing what the next chord will be.
Sometimes I write humor and sometimes I write what is on my mind. What is deep within the heart is hard to excavate, but if it can help me to heal, so be it. Don’t forget to take out the garbage and put the garage door down before you come to bed. Oh, how I would like to say those words again one more time.