I’ve watched the clouds approaching for a while now. The winds pushing them ever closer, thunder announcing its presence and progress. The winds I am enjoying as it has cooled everything down from the earlier heat. Both of my dogs are inside, stretched out safe in the floor nearby. The cat colony was still outside playing until just moments ago. Rain isn’t falling yet but the winds causing small limbs and leaves to tumble to the ground. Rain would be good what with so many shooting off fireworks, the ground needs to be less dry than it is.
Some storms do not give you a warning. One moment the sky is blue and the next it has opened up and a deluge of rain pounds the ground. It isn’t only the weather that does this, life presents its own storms. It is up to us to handle those storms with intelligence and perseverance.
Even though my husband and I had somewhat prepared by having small life insurance policies and wills, even as I knew his health was not the best, his death was a storm that came suddenly. Even as there have been related storms since, this one was the storm that shifted and changed everything I knew.
I had to figure out how to get him home. I had to face the funeral. I had to face what came afterward and I had to figure it out on my own. Being an independent person, one who is strong in handling what comes is good, and not so good. People around you see you handling things and fade away leaving you to face the storms and their aftermaths. What then, did I do?
After the casket had been lowered into the ground, after the many who had come to honor his life had gone, I was left standing in the aftermath observing the destruction of what had been my life. I was now in the death has parted us phase and this was a path that held no instructions of maps.
What I did, was learn how to lean more heavily on my faith. I found ways to seek out moments of healing and peace. I had to recognize how to open my heart and soul and listen and hear God’s voice. I knew that I was going to have to grow in many ways since the one I had leaned on so heavily was now gone from the equation. I had to learn to open my eyes to the signs proving to me I was not alone.
I love to spend time hiking in nature. Whether those hikes are in my own back woods or on local trials. When I hike, the peace within the woods is healing. I regain my peace and my balance. I can feel the stress, the fears, the overthinking fade away with each step. When I watch nature around me, from dragonfly to reptiles to mammals, I see the amazing gifts they are. It moves me from the bubble I often find myself into seeing the grandeur of life, whether it is on the small scale or one greater. When you watch a flowing river, or stand on the top of a mountain and look outward across the vast expanse before you, a greater understanding forms.
I have found ways to keep busy. Whether to lose myself in a good book or in yard work helps. When I am busy, my mind and thoughts are on what I am doing. When I am idle for too long a period, then I allow too much time for memories.
There is nothing wrong with emotions, whether it is grief, anger, hurt, laughter. They all play a place in our life. It is learning how to prevent emotions to hold too much reign on our thoughts and life. I have found that emotions are random in their timing. Like the storm they can come out of nowhere, they can bring a welcome gentle rain, or massive destruction. While we can’t control the weather, we can learn to work through our emotions.
While I tend to be an individual who sits back quietly and observes, I can also be a part of a group. Something I am working on as time, events and finances allow. Currently I am spending more time taking care of my parents, but that doesn’t take all my time. As I am able, I will join in and step aside from the solitude. But then taking care of them has also helped me move forward and learn. I haven’t been attending church as I should, I have been a part of this church for most of my life. Many of the members know me and my family and are important friends. They have provided much for my family and I know if I were to reach out to them they would be there.
More importantly, my faith brings me peace. Psalm 23:4 When I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are with me.
Matthew 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.
John 16:33 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.
Those are but a few, the Bible is filled with His words and promises of being here for and with us, taking care of us and our needs. This has helped me greatly. Those times at night, when the dark and quiet move in, it is when I speak with Him, that my heart is comforted and the peace of sleep is welcome. I am constantly learning, constantly having to be reminded as grief is a never ending journey. The storms along the way making things more difficult, but the peace and rainbow at the end, showing how great our strength has become.