Five months after my husband’s demise, our oldest daughter got married. The day was immensely bittersweet engulfed with a kaleidoscope of rollercoaster emotions. A few months later, a dear aunt passed away. As I attended her funeral, my spirit was in utter chaos. How have you handled weddings and funerals since your beloved’s passing?
Our daughter was breathtaking and gorgeous as I walked her down the aisle towards her husband to be. Happy-sad tears cascaded down my cheeks. I had to remind myself to just simply breathe, almost as if it was a foreign concept to me. My feet felt incased in stone. Looking back, I recall repeating to myself, “I can do this, right leg, left leg, just walk, God is leading me, David is with me.”
It was a glorious day to celebrate their love and unsurpassed bond…a day to thank and praise our Lord for new beginnings…a day to express my unwavering adoration for my daughter and yet, I was in a blur, a surreal daze, and in the midst of my widow fog. Despite my daughter incorporating numerous remembrances of her father throughout the ceremony and feeling surrounded by David’s loving presence, I yearned for him to be walking her down the aisle and give her away. Moreover, I ached for my daughter’s loss.
During the reception, I started to feel faint. I fumbled my way to my chair. My mind was spinning. How do I navigate a new pathway, an uncharted terrain without my husband, my compass? At that exact moment, I looked down to my place setting and saw an envelope with my name on it. I opened it. The front displayed this verse, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” –Psalm 32:8 NLT. The inside was hand written with the words, “Lisa, God will direct your steps. You are forever loved and prayed for.” There was no signature. I looked around in confusion. Who wrote this? Who put it here? I will never know the answers to those questions.
As I mentioned above, next came our treasured aunt’s funeral. Her burial took place just a few plots away from my husbands. I struggled and debated how I was going to stand there and not sink to the ground. Anxiety griped at my heart. After a tremendous amount of prayer and support from family members, I decided that I was not emotionally able or prepared to attend her graveside service. I did however; make it to her funeral service at the church. I was so pleased to be able to honor our lovely aunt and find fellowship amongst family and friends; nevertheless, this might sound silly, but going to her funeral service literally felt like a journey in itself.
When I got home, I turned my radio on. A Christian station was playing the song, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” I was mystified as I hadn’t listened to that station for over a year as my youngest always wanted to listen to her music. How did my dial get changed? This song held such cherished memories as my mother and I sang it together many years ago at church. The lyrics reiterated for me the knowledge that God and his stronghold can spur me on and turn my strife into stepping stones of growth.
1. I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I‘ll be satisfied as long, As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. 2. Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Since then I have attended more weddings and funerals. Each one has been a milestone step. Many days I feel like I am muddling my way through this quicksand. I make one step forward and ten leaps back. I don’t have all the answers. I doubt, I ponder, I rant, and I sob. I have had to learn to embrace my feelings, be gentle with myself, and allow myself to decide what I can handle. As this grief walk takes immeasurable strength and humbling trust in our Designer’s plan. I wrote this prayer to get me through the landscapes of the day:
Dear Heavenly Father, My grief is so heavy; my steps seem plastered in mud. Please help me to rely on you. You have promised to lift me out of my despair and place my feet on steady ground. You have promised to guide me through paths unknown. Breathe into me your sustaining resilience and instill in me the confidence to know that I can step forth behind the footprints of your love. With reverence and thanks for your tender mercies. Amen
As always, please feel free to comment and or/share. I appreciate your insights and how we can encourage each other to press on. My hope is that you will find solace and renewal during your steps.
Lisa Dempsey Bargewell
My next Wednesday blog will be on May 13th.