The last few weeks have been filled with grief. A dear friend of ours that I have known for over 37 years, passed away unexpectedly. He was a man in some ways a lot like my husband, an avid outdoors man, a hard worker, dedicated to the church, and "keeper of stuff." Unlike Bill, he was father to 5, grandfather to many, even a great-grandfather to a few! Two of his grandsons were in James and Laura's wedding. He and his dear wife made the trip all the way across the country to go to the wedding. At the wedding, one grandson met Laura's sister and last year they were married. Another trip across the country! The other grandson works with us in our business.
His funeral was one week ago. This was the first funeral I attended since Amy died. It was hard. Very hard. Especially when one of the songs, sung by some of his children and grands, was "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone." Amy's Song. I could hardly keep my sobs silent.
He was a Marine, and like my daddy proud of it. They did the military salute at the end and with each gunshot I wondered if the next military funeral I would attend would be my Daddy's funeral.
Last evening I went to the first viewing I have been to since Amy died. Bill and Emily have been to many viewings in the last 18 months. I did briefly attend one held in our church for a dear elderly lady who loved Amy so much. She was such a jewel, that I had to show my respect to her family. But I just could not make myself go to a funeral home to a viewing. Last night I did.
Our neighbor, a few houses down the road, has been battling with cancer for about 4 years. A few weeks ago we became aware that she was home to stay as nothing more could be done. Just waiting. I would drive by her house and my heart would break as I knew what the family was going through. To my shame I never got to know her very well. But her sister is the mom of the two young men that were in James and Laura's wedding. So much grief in this one dear family in such a short time. I felt the need to reach out and tell them how much I cared, but I did not. I only cried.
To be able to be with someone as they live their final hours of life on this earth is a blessing, but also leaves memories that will never stop from hurting. Because those hours are the final hours of this life as we know it. Those hours are our final memories of our loved one.
All the memories of Amy's last few days, the plans for her funeral, the funeral itself, have been replaying in my mind. The worst part was giving in to the devil whispering in my ear that I never did enough for Amy. Those final hours I could have read to her more, I could have held her more, I could have held her longer once her life was gone, I could have looked at her longer one last time before that lid was shut on the casket.
I could have.....I could have.........goes on and on and it is only the strength of God that gets me through each of my days. It is only by His strength that I tell myself...... I did do enough!
It is only His strength that has carried this dear family through the last few weeks and only His strength that will get them through the days ahead.
As Bill and I were coming home from somewhere a few days ago and pulling into the driveway, I was overwhelmed with the sadness of not having our dog come to greet us anymore. I said out loud to him, "Why has God taken so much away from us?"
My dear wise husband replied, "Why has God given us so many gifts?"