One week and one day ago, the boys and I lost a very good friend.
One of my best friends lost her husband. A car accident took him instantly. Jerry was here, and then he was gone.
Not a week before it happened, the boys and I were with Angie and Jerry in their country home. We sat down to meals together, laughed together, talked together, played together.
We had plans. They were going to visit us soon. They had plans, for his retirement, for their future. They had exciting plans.
“I thought I would grow old with you.” Mark wrote to me, in the months before he died.
We all had plans.
I had forgotten how draining these first days are. Like having a new baby (or two) in the house, fresh grief requires your constant attention and brings an exhaustion that goes beyond the physical. My thinking is fuzzy. I’m easily distracted. Easily overwhelmed. I have trouble finishing sentences, and making sense when I do. My body feels like lead. I forget to eat. I forget to take medications. I forget to answer emails, texts, or call people back. I lean on old comforts, instant gratifications like food and Facebook.
Fresh grief means living in triage mode. Look at the list, see what’s next, do that. Look at the list, see what’s next, do that. Look at the list, see what’s next, do that.
Do I wish it away? No. To wish it away, would mean to wish Jerry away. To remove who he was to me, and to the boys. He was an angel, the fun kind. mischievous. He knew how to have fun. He knew how to “just be.” Eager to please, and delighted when he succeeded. He was a bright light, a warm and loving man who thought my kids hung the moon, and they thought the same of him. We got Jerry in our lives because of Angie. We got to witness the love of a good man for a good woman, and be a part of their circle. To wish all this away would be to turn away Love.
Grief is Love. Sorry to break the news. If you have Love, sooner or later you will experience grief.
Grieving for Mark, for Jerry, for the loved ones who have passed before – this loss so wide and so deep, it only exists because we had Love.
And belly-laughs. And ribs and pie and beer. And horses, and dogs, and time together in the country.
“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. …For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”