Today has been a struggle. Being a stay at home mom is such a blessing, but it also gives me a lot of time to think. Today my mind is consumed with October nineteenth, and the week that followed.
I remember riding in the back of my parent’s car on the way home from the University of Utah. Rain streamed down the windshield like the tears that I so wished I could cry. My body and mind were numb with grief. So numb, that even the tears that had been previously impossible to contain, refused to fall. I felt like I was wandering through an awful dream. I just wanted to wake up. I had watched my husband slip quietly away only hours before. My mind refused to accept that he was truly gone. I wanted to yell for my Dad to turn the car around. We needed to bring him home too. I forced myself to keep control. My daughters were sitting next to me, they had just said goodbye to their Daddy. They needed normalcy (if that even existed anymore). They needed me. So I took deep breaths and looked out at the rain.
Family, friends, neighbors, and members of our church were waiting for my family back in Idaho. My house had been cleaned, meals were flooding in, flowers and plants filled my countertops, and the monetary donations were overwhelming. So many wonderful people, and service abundantly given. I was so thankful.
In the days immediately following, I planned my husband’s funeral. A musical number by his younger brothers, a life sketch by his older brother and sister, a talk given by his Dad, a song sung by his uncles, prayers given, and obituary written. I chose the flowers, the wooden casket, the place, and the program. I went to the mall with my parents to buy myself a dress.
As I walked through stores I remember being so frustrated with the shoppers around me. How could they be so happy? How could they be so naive? How were they living their lives so blissfully unaware that my life had just shattered? I could have cared less what I wore to the funeral. Nothing mattered. My husband had died, and nothing else had any importance. A song came on the radio….one of our songs. I broke into tears. We left the mall. We drove to another store not far away, and my sweet parents helped me pick out a black and white dress for the viewing, and a blue dress with a pink necklace for the funeral.
The morning of the viewing I went to the funeral home. I had invited Ryan’s brothers and parents to help me dress him for the funeral. I asked if I could have a bit of time alone with him first. I was led into a small room. My husband was there on the table. He looked so much better than he had in the hospital. He looked like himself, like he was just taking a nap.
I touched his face. The reality that he truly was gone hit me. His body was cold. I bent over his chest, and laid my head on his shoulder. Broken doesn’t even come close to describing that moment. I wanted to go with him. I didn’t want to live without him. The pain was more than I could bare.
But then, there was peace. A warmness that filled my chest, and eventually my entire body. A comfort that encompassed me, and allowed my breaths to come evenly again. The assurance to my soul that I was part of something greater. God had not forgotten me. I was reminded again in my heart the things that I had been taught as a young child. Even though I didn’t know what I was going to do without him, or how I would take care of my family alone, God still had a plan for me. Although the separation would be excruciating for a time, my family would be whole again one day.
People filed through the line at the viewing for hours. I felt so much love and support.
The funeral was beautiful. A wonderful tribute to the man that I loved oh so much.
It was difficult to watch the casket close that final time. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see or touch my husband again in this life. Even now I wish I could relive it all, just so I could see him again.
But even on days like today, when the memories are consuming, and it hurts to breathe, I still rely on the same source of comfort. The only true source of comfort. When I pray for His peace, He gives it freely. Even while I feel angry, alone, or when I have pushed him away. There hasn’t been a single day or lonely night when I have sincerely knelt and prayed for Heavenly comfort that it hasn’t filled my heart, just as it did that day when I had to say goodbye.
I know that God loves me. I know that he loves you too. He wants more than anything to help us through life’s challenges. If we will let him.