New Years Eve, as I was getting settled into bed for the night, I pulled up Facebook on my phone and ran across a post that a friend of mine and my late husband’s (whom I will call Joe for the privacy of my dear friend and his family) had posted. As I read it, feelings of concern overwhelmed me, because the tone of the message was one of great heartache. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him he was not alone, but I couldn’t so I went to sleep that night saying a prayer for him after leaving a sad face emoji on the post. The next morning, New Year’s Day, I was startled by the ping of a text message that popped up on my phone. I quickly glanced at the screen to see what it said. As I did, a lump formed in my throat and I could feel the pit of my stomach start to feel queasy. “Did you hear what happened to Joe?” I immediately picked up the phone to call the friend who had messaged me and he picked up right away. “What happened?” I had asked already knowing what his response was going to be before the words came out of his mouth. As I hung up the phone, I was saddened that the burden of life had been too heavy for my dear friend Joe to bear and he passed away during the night. His death has left a huge void that is felt by everyone that has ever come in contact with him.
Death, in general, leaves us with a broken heart, which much like an old injury never quite heals. It still hurts when the weather changes, but it doesn’t keep us from getting to our destination even if we must hobble there. We will carry our loved ones forward with us tucked away in the deep crevices of our broken heart. We may find both comfort and pain knowing that we have direct access to the feelings from the memories that remain.
This week my own memories of my friend, husband, and others that have died started seeping out of my broken heart. I cry endlessly sometimes when I think of what will never be, but find healing in all the memories we once shared. I will keep those memories tucked away in my heart forever, so that when the weather changes I can pull them back out to shield myself from the pain. They become my crutch to lean on as I hobble along to ensure that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other. As I continue to move forward and make new memories I hope to leave behind a special piece of myself for others to carry in their own hearts long after I’m gone.