The twenty-fifth anniversary of my father's death is soon approaching, and it's hard for me to grasp this number. Though there has been a multitude of changes within our family since then, mostly wonderful additions, the memory of his passing still remains fresh in my mind. Maybe it was the way in which his wife and children gathered by his side, each doing their part in providing him the comfort and dignity he deserved.
"When his mind could no longer steady itself upon a thought, when his lips could no longer come together to form a word, when his voice could no longer find the strength to sound even a whisper, his family gathered around.
His wife remained close, kissing the fingers of his lifeless hand. His sons remained committed, wiping the sweat from his colorless face. His daughters remained loyal, moistening the lips of his breathless mouth.
Before their eyes, his suffering ceased.
Once again, life was restored.
The eyes, young with anticipation.
The mouth, animated with joy.
The skin, alive with a newfound glory.
Blessed are they who witnessed."
Witnessing the death of a loved one, though a blessing, is excruciating all on its own, but the depth of sadness my mother must have experienced in the months that followed is unimaginable to me now.
After nearly fifty years of marriage, it couldn't have been easy for her to adjust to her new way of life as a widow. Suddenly, she was thrust into solitude within the confines of a home that for so long echoed his voice.
Selfishly, I did not ask my mother the kind of strength it takes to endure the heartbreak of losing a spouse. As an older and wiser adult today, I wish only to go back in time to express this simple wonder.
Click here to read Letting Go: How to Rebuild Your Life after Loss of Spouse