Saturday, November 20, 2010
Early this afternoon, I approached her and said we were going to go to her husband’s service. She looked a little surprised then said, "Oh, yes. We need to do that." I don't know if she subconsciously knew that it was coming or she did not understand exactly what I was saying. Her realization that he is gone comes and goes. Fortunately, for her, it is mostly gone. She wanted to make sure she looked okay. I told her she looked beautiful and she waved her hand at me. "You look beautiful," she replied with an emphasis on you. That may be just a saying, but I will take it where I can get it and thanked her.
Moments later, we were loaded in the Jeep and we were off to the funeral home. During the ride, we talked about her family. I told her they were all going to be there and support her. She held my hand and said, "Don't you leave me." I told her I would be close. She patted my hand and closed her eyes.
Her family was there to greet her--children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews. She was gracious and greeted many. She loves her family and her eyes sparkle. She grasps hands and gives kisses. She is the family matron and it is her due. You can see how they love her. The years of love are bright as unshed tears bring a shine to many eyes. The sadness reveals the love they have for her as they view her frailty. Many realize that she will not be far behind. Maybe she realizes it as well.
The service is full of praise for her husband of 67 years. He was a man of strength and gentleness. He loved his family above all. Memories slide by that show pieces of his life. Her head is raised and her eldest daughter describes the photos. It makes no difference if she can see them. She knows him. She sees his face every time she closes her eyes. She knows every memory. She feels him at her side as he has been for many years.
She dozes the short distance to the cemetery. Grieving is tiring. Pain is fatiguing. Yet she holds on. The next generation brings him to her. He wrapped in fragrant wood. She swaddled in blankets. They are side by side once again. A pink rosary held in her hand then shared with her husband. Tears flow around her as she is serene. The cold begins to seep through the blankets and we move to leave. Again her family surrounds her. Young voices telling her they love her. This is for them, not for her. Her family needs to say the words. They need her to know. She knows. She always will.
Now she sleeps. A deep sleep. She may dream of those memories when they were young. She may dream of dancing as they were old. It matters not. She has him with her. She always will.