Last month, a dear friend of mine passed. His wife is now a widow. Although she is a tiny woman, she is an elegant and strong woman. I have admired her style, elegance, and strength for many years. She and her husband were business associates at the beginning of our association but became wonderful friends very quickly. She is witty, friendly, and charming.
My husband and I have benefited greatly from our association and friendship with our two friends. The news of his death, although not surprising, was distressing. We were so worried about his widow, how she would carry on now that he would no longer be with her, how she would maintain their large home in the Metroplex, and would her now found aloneness get the better of her. We suspected she would recover well, but she and Terry had been sweethearts, husband and wife, mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, and working business partners for ¾s of their lives. Her adjustment to being without him would be extremely painful, daunting, and unbelievably heart wrenching.
I have been greatly worried for her and praying for her recovery. Last week she called me to thank my husband and me for attending Terry’s service. She expressed gratitude for my husband’s words as he addressed the attendees at the graveside, and to me for the copy of my book, Mourning Light I. She said that her particular favorite was Grief Brief 91.
Grief Brief 91
The Ultimate Adversity
Love is tempered and grows stronger through adversity and sacrifice. The more we experience together, the stronger our relationships become. Death eradicates our ability to be together and to continue experiencing life together. It does not, however, eradicate our ability to continue loving our decedent. It does not make it impossible for our love to continue on and deepen as we continue through life without our companion or our loved one.
Love is not a physical experience - it is a deeply emotional and spiritual experience. Were it not so, how would one explain the love a parent has for an unborn child? How would one explain the abiding love parents carry to their graves for their miscarried children?
Death is the ultimate adversary in our relationships. It does not, however, sever us from the love we hold dear in our hearts.
(Mourning Light, Tracy Reneé Lee, 2016)
When I was a young woman, my husband was called to serve in Desert Storm/Desert Shield. Back then, cell phones and internet services were not yet available to the general population, so communications were not frequent. We had just begun our dear little family together and off he went to war. Having my first infant and losing my husband’s assistance and participation in her rearing was tough to bear. The agony of not knowing daily, weekly, and even multi-monthly on occasion, whether he was dead or alive was beyond stressful. I was the ombudsman for his command at the time and worked with families, both Navy, and Marine until the safe return home of their troops. We had just purchased our home and each month found ourselves short a few hundred dollars for our basic living needs. My valiant husband sacrificed nearly his entire paycheck for our new baby and me. He kept a mere $30.00 monthly, for hygiene items. Still, we remained short of adequate funds.
During my husband's deployment, his monthly paycheck stopped arriving into our joint checking account. I notified his stateside Captain, and four months later, his paycheck was reinstated. For four long and arduous months, my baby and I sold everything we owned, other than the house. When my husband returned home from war, his family had no vehicles, no food, no furniture, no toys, and bare closets. I had sold everything in order to save our home.
The first Gulf War was a difficult time our family. One of loneliness, adversity, and fear. The sacrifices my husband had made for us were great. The sacrifices he had made for his country were enormous. The planning and implementation of operations to accomplish his missions and keep his troops alive had been unbelievably stressful and nearly unbearable under the adversity of knowing his family had been deserted by the government, and worrying about our survival. We made it though. Increadibly, we were able to meet our financial obligations each month and keep our home. My husband may not have come home to the same warm and cozy home he had left, but he came home to a roof over his head and his loving family anxiously awaiting his return.
The rich blessings from these trials and adversities served to strengthen our love for each other and our marriage for time and all eternity. When my husband left for war, we were a team. When he came home from war, we were a tenable fortress. Never to waiver in our commitments, our love, our strength, nor our purpose. Adversity had made us an impenetrable force. My friends, Kitty and Terry were that way. Their years together and the trials they had suffered had melded them into a powerful fortress.
Whenever I help a widow in my funeral practice, I always ponder what my actions would be were I to suffer their same scenario. Should my husband pass before I do, I pray that my experiences and bonds with him will shore up my strength, and that I will be the beacon of light, strength, and elegance that Kitty so naturally displays.
Death, the ultimate adversity, steals our loved ones, but, it does not sever us from the love we hold dear in our hearts.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.