Three months ago, fortune favoured me. I was married to a wonderful, adventure loving husband. Our grown children were only a phone call away. Our greatest joy was taking our grandchildren exploring, then watching the wonderment cross their faces as they experienced new sights. In two years, he would retire. We planned to buy a camper, load up our dog and cat, and head into the sunrise, stopping when something caught our attention. Where we ended up, or when we returned, it didn’t matter. We would be together, laughing, exploring the continent hand in hand.
Then we heard that word no one wants to hear. Cancer. Twenty-one days later, I buried my husband.
Darkness came. Oppressing, fearful, darkness. Filled every nook of my being. Life whirled past me, just out of reach. I heard people talking, but the meaning of their words evaded me. I fought to connect with the person I used to be, but she remained a stranger. Her tenacity for life mocking me as I struggled to get out of bed each day. Questions bombarded my thoughts. Why did it happen? Why him and not me? An urgency to believe he’s with God arrived. Desperation to understand challenged my faith. Restlessness had me pacing, wringing my hands, clenching my fists. My life was no longer life.
When I thought I'd never laugh again, a pin prick appeared in the darkness . I inched toward it, terrified. Yet something prodded me on. As I neared the tiny hole, the oppression lifted a bit. The air changed. Became warm, inviting, and not at all fearful. My heart quickened. Perhaps life does go on beyond death.
Before I could change my mind, I dressed in my exercise clothes I hadn’t worn for weeks and headed to the gym. Every muscle in my body screamed as I conquered the machines one by one, but when I ended the session, tightness that gripped my head loosened. As I stepped outside, I paused at the brightness of the sun, felt the crisp winter breeze caressing my cheeks, and smelled the aroma of fresh doughnuts coming from the bakery across the street. Indefinable joy swept through me. I was still alive.
At home I turned on my computer and began to write. At first, only a few words made it to the screen, but slowly, ever so slowly, my thoughts rose above the grief and a story wormed its way into my heart. Tears flowed down my cheeks as the scenes linked together, but this time, they brought hope, a promise that maybe someday I would find myself again.