Tuesday, April 1, 2014
It's a blur
The funeral was, and is, a blur. I know that I walked alone behind the casket; Shaun was behind me and Keith was behind him. I know my two boys sat next to me in that order, but not who was next to Keith. I know that Amy and Rex (with Isaiah) sat behind me as I could hear Isaiah talking to and comforting his mom. The rest of my family… no clue where they sat. I was so busy trying to hold it all together that I don’t even know who all came to pay their respects. I know several of Ron’s former co-workers were there, as well as a friend from our Derby church. I saw the names of many in the guest book who I didn’t even get around to acknowledging.
The church hosted a luncheon after the graveside service and many people did not come back to the church. I’m sorry that I missed acknowledging their presence. I did manage to speak to two of Ron’s co-workers; one was so emotionally shaken up that all he could do was give me a hug. The last time we had seen him was at the services for his wife several years ago. I found out from another friend that another co-worker placed a guitar pick in the casket with Ron – just in case he needed it. I know Ron was loved by so many people and I’m so grateful that so many came to show their support.
Some people I expected to hear from, I did not. Others I did not expect to hear from, I did. Both were surprising and I appreciated all of the messages I received, and continue to receive. Some people from our Derby church, I expected to see at some point. I did not. Ron spent years with the praise team there and I was just a bit surprised that they didn’t attend the visitation or the service. Some people may not have known about Ron’s passing so I let them know. After seeing they’d read my message, and didn’t, I deleted the message thread. Maybe they didn’t know what to say. I know that many people don’t. If they want to reply to the message, they still can as it’s in their inbox but there's no problem if they don't or can't.
I reached out to someone from my past who I haven’t spoken to in years because I knew that she had held Ron in high regard. I’m so glad that I did as she replied with words that no one else could have said. She had also taken care of a spouse with Parkinson’s and dementia. She was able to care for her spouse at home until the end, whereas I was not, but we still shared common feelings of frustration, guilt, and despair. She recommended a book by Catherine Marshall, To Live Again, and I have ordered it from Amazon. She said it helped her get past the dark days and to not feel guilty for experiencing joy in her life again. I want to be able to forgive myself for where I failed Ron, even though a part of me (most of me) knows that I did my best and Ron forgave me of my shortcomings.
One of the things she wrote, that could have come straight from me, was that she cursed herself for the times she felt impatient with him, or lashed out with angry words, when she should have recognized that it was the disease process and not his spirit. The hard part was that he couldn’t help it, but should she (and I) have been stronger and kinder 100% of the time? That hit home with me and I know that I discussed it at times with Ron, asking his forgiveness when I failed him. With men like her husband and Ron, having to endure the nursing home experience and suffer the health problems they had, surely their pain was as great or greater than ours. I always dealt with the physical side of his disease processes – it was the mental side that I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Even when I no longer had the physical care of him, I still had the emotional care and the mental anguish when I couldn’t “fix” everything. He always said there was nothing to forgive as he knew it was very hard on me to deal with everything.
She also told me that the one thing that never fades is the love. We lose their presence, the pain does get better, and we find happiness in our new life without them – but we never, ever lose the love. It stays just as strong, maybe even stronger. We get to keep that love forever, and it becomes the salve to heal the wounds. Some people have a lifetime here and never know the kind of love we got to have. The love we have will transcend all time and barriers and it will last forever.
The life we had at the end was not what we would have chosen for each other, but it does hold more good memories than bad. The bad ones try to jump out and overtake the good ones. With time, I look forward to being able to focus more on the good times and the happy memories that we shared together. My past with Ron is a big part of who I am and I will carry that forward with confidence and dignity, never relinquishing it – only building upon it.