Grief can help you appreciate life

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yesterday calls out to me, and I answer. Bubbles of laughter and sweet contentment rush in, and I feel the pain of what life could have been.  I embrace the peace and security of a time before I knew that the unthinkable could happen to me.

My children and grandchildren should have grown into adulthood with their father.  I should not have been left a widow at 49.  I should not have to deal with the ache of yesterday and what could have been.

Where would we be today?  What would we be doing?  I let yesterday’s dreams slip down my check, and I wonder how many days until tomorrow?

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I breathe and cry.  I wring out the bittersweet tears and allow myself to feel.  Grieving is a beautiful and painful phenomena.  Sniffling nose and swollen eyes, beautiful?  Yes.  To live and feel deeply is a gift.

Life is a mixture of pain and joy.  Memories often bring laughter and tears simultaneously.  We all have regrets, and dreams that can never come true.

Glen R. must have seen the young girl he married whenever he looked my way because he never failed to tell me I was beautiful.  Almost every day he voiced his love for me.  Many times he would just look at me and say, “You are such a good person.  You are a much better woman than I am a man”.  Funny, but I feel that way about him.

I look back and wonder why I wasn’t sweeter, why I wasn’t better?  This too is part of grief.  If only I had one more day to tell him how much he meant to me.  If only I could have been the perfect wife.

My mind drifts to a place I sometimes visit, our last anniversary.  Glen R. was always so well dressed and handsome.  He surprised me with a new leather coat and a riverboat cruise.  I wore his favorite red dress.

The captain announced our anniversary and Glen R. arranged for the band to play “Lady in Red” as we danced.  He gave me a beautiful bouquet of red roses and talked about how happy he was to have spent so many wonderful years with me.

He was always jolly, but that night  he seemed so very happy. He suggested we spend every anniversary on the same riverboat in Knoxville.  I remember the twinkle in his eye when he talked about our future anniversaries.  Neither of us had any idea that this would be our last.

I always planned to cruise the Knoxville riverboat one more time.  I planned to wear a red dress and ask the band to play our song.  I was going to buy roses and let the petals fall into the water as I said my last goodbye, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

So I never said goodbye.

One day I believe I will see this sweet man again.  Thanks to the One who loves me more.  I truly do believe that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

How could this be for my good?

Only God knows, but I choose to believe.

Today and my new life call out to me, and I answer.  I take one last backward glance and close the door on yesterday until another beautiful, terrible day.


By Jan Miller Penton