I stared hard at the verdant green rolling hill before me, enveloped in the arms of snow-capped, craggy mountains that made my eyes water for their beauty. My eyes ached with yearning to see you, even from a great distance, come walking up over the rise of that plateau, smile that endearing smile, and raise your great, gentle hand in greeting. I had been crying so very hard for so very long that it was difficult to see clearly through those swollen soul windows. But even then, I could not see you. I tried and tried, watched and watched for hours, until the warm rays of the sun receded behind a blanket of dark, cold and impersonal clouds. They rained their icy, early mountain spring drops on my hair until the rivulets ran down my cheeks and mingled with the salty tears. Those now so familiar clutches of spastic pain in my chest repeatedly knocked the breath from my lungs. I wanted to stay and stare in the vain desperation of seeing some tangible sign of you, but my body began to shake, and Leslie came out on the deck to gently coax me back into her warm heart and home. There, the little girls surround me and rub my back and arms. Avari cries, too. Amaya struggles to know what to do with her pain, and Autumn tries to smile and say it will all be OK. We all know, though, we will never be “all right” again. We will be “alright.” But there is a huge difference in meaning between the two.
It has been over six months now. I guess, up until now, I somehow deep in my subconscious wondered if I were in a terrible nightmare. Or perhaps I was in shock, or denial, or whatever other psychobabble one might label my state. But I really thought you would miraculously show up again. Logic was overpowered by hope for something that was hopeless—your return to human form. I would not want you to return to this earth permanently, my love. I am just so desperate to touch your baby-soft cheek just once more, or run my fingers through that amazingly soft, smooth, and obedient hair of yours. I yearn to see you smile at me with those deep-set brown eyes fanned out with templar lines from constant use. I’ve begged and pleaded with the Lord for one last glimpse of you to keep me walking forward into this bleak future. I fasted and prayed for three days, staring at that majestic backdrop upon which I tried to believe you into being, but to no avail. I asked Jesus, then, to show up in your place. Do you remember how, whenever the Lord was going to do something truly miraculous and amazing, we would see some sign in nature? Well, shortly thereafter, a huge owl swooped right down in front of us, sat in a tree not four feet away, and stared at me with his great, round eyes. I imagined Jesus was saying, “I am with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will be your defender, poor and weak widow.”
So here I am darling, reminiscing on this predawn misty morning where you and I began. I went to Bob and Wendy’s house, right next door to yours—the house where she finally coaxed me out onto her little balcony so I could lay eyes on you for the first time as you mowed your lawn that long ago Sunday morning. I parked for a moment in front, and a lady came to the little rental truck to ask if I was alright. I had a hard time choking out the words of explanation: “I lived here in 1984 with my new husband. He died.” I said. Gently, she invited me to come back again to sit in your…our…old back yard, now buried in old shady overgrowth of rhododendrons and scotch pine you planted as a young man. We’d have a cup of tea in her garden, and reminisce. How I yearned with all that is in me to go back and relive those days, those months, those years with you!! I loved you so dearly, but I would love you even better. I would never hurt your feelings, or be upset with you, or run away for a day or two as I was want to do. I would cling to you like English ivy on an old brick building, intertwining myself into every nook and cranny of your beautiful being.
Your sister, Jan, and brother in law, Dan, have taken us under their wings and are applying the balm of love, comfort, and care to such a degree that it can’t help but have an effect on this gaping wound. Still, I cannot believe how painful it all remains. The desperate ache caused by trying to look forward is so difficult, though I know it must be done. I am trying to walk each day wisely, as you have guided me to. I am making plans for permanency and stability in our future for the girls’ sake. I think you would be proud of the changes your leaving us caused in the girls. They call us “Little Women” now. Four little women, holding each other tightly and tremulously, navigating the unknown, icy waters of a journey down the river, alone. Life around us, however, seems to have returned to relative normalcy for others. We still have many loving friends and family keeping in touch with encouraging, loving missives. But of necessity, the acuity of crisis grief care is no longer appropriate. It seems so wrong, even now, that the days should come and go, passing as if everything had remained as beautiful as it was before you left. I still awaken every morning, greeting the day with copious tears, and closing that selfsame day, in like. I will never be happy again, but I am promised that somehow, someway, in some eternal form, I will have peace and joy. I am thinking now that I will not “see” you again as I did early after you left. So many talk about “seeing” their loved ones, but I can only remember, dream, and imagine you. I want always to be able to hear the exact intonations of your deep, resonant voice, feel the softness of your cheek or the calloused clasp of your great hand. I want always to see you walking before me on the trail or throwing a snowball at me with your mischievous grin. I want to stand and worship our Savior feeling your strong, protective, arm around me. I cannot get through even one praise song now; the tears and breathing spasms make it impossible to sing. But I try to sing in my heart. I beg God to show up and be more real to me than any human being. I beg that He will help me, show me the way, to get to that place where I am absent so that He can be tangibly present. Pray for me too, will you? I know you watch us from Heaven. I know you are there cheering me on, though I cannot see or hear you as I so desire. I wait for your schooner to appear again on the horizon of the sun-setting sea. I strain my eyes looking for you to walk up over that verdant green hill, but you have not come back. And I miss you so awfully there are no words to express it. Oh Scott, please tell me again that I can do this. Please tell me again, what the end of the story will be; that we will be together again in Paradise. Please tell me you will run by my side during whatever distance remains for me in my lonely race! I love you so much! I pray that these poignant memories will grant me new strength in each moment, let me take in another life-sustaining breath, and re-birth my eternal hope to walk on alone.