Wednesday, January 04, 2012

4th January

I came across these apparently contradictory signs a few months ago on the campsite near Malvern (and yes, before you say it, I have cropped the shot). They were right outside my motorhome window and I sat staring at them for days as I thought about my future, and considered how they illustrate my situation quite perfectly. My present direction is defined by the depth of my grief and the intensity of personal loss, I see only one way forward and that involves embracing the tears, allowing my heart to break and mourning my wife’s death without inhibition. I actually have no choice as I loved her too much and caring for her over the final months and years filled my life. But it’s scary, as every time I touch a lifetime of memories it feels as though my heart would literally break, and either I would join Jane in early death, or even worse become trapped in a permanent world of grief. I’ve seen that happen and it’s tragic.

And yet I know that the only way to find ongoing relief is to walk through this season of mourning without resistance. The only way out is by following the no exit road. I will not allow a permanent shadow to hang over my life. That would not respect the memory of Jane that I wish to preserve; she lived to smile, to encourage, to support and to share hope with all around her. She lived with a terrible cancer and whilst she engaged with almost every treatment offered, and some that weren’t, she determined basically to ignore her condition completely and live ‘normally’. I remember the month before she died she was discharged from hospital as they could do nothing else for her, and she was transferred home for palliative care only. Her response was one of gentle humour and bemusement… ‘this doesn’t feel right, it’s not part of the plan at all!’ Not for one second did she ever complain or allow her discomfort to change her basically cheerful and also caring demeanour. If she can do that, I cannot allow grief to become the hallmark of my life. And my life for sure would be totally wasted just sitting around crying for years and years. And yes I’ve really seen that happen and it really is a waste.

So the way out is by heading straight on down the road which my heart says has no exit! And boy that’s tough. But I have to believe that one day I will be whole again, and that my sadness over losing Jane will be confined to just a few special times and places of my choosing… rather than the uncontrollable grip that grief exerts at every possible opportunity right now. I’m getting stronger though and it’s only been 7 months.

The interesting thing is that the next time I visited this campsite they’d installed new barriers and created a different one way system. So guess what? They changed the ‘No Exit’ road which led nowhere into the ‘Exit’ road, and that now gets you off the ‘private member's site’ back into the ‘real world’. Ok I’ll have some of that thank you very much!

Psalm 18:32 ‘God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.’ (NLT)

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