Winter Rain


It’s December in St. Louis, Missouri.  Winter has arrived.  With the winter comes days of winter rain.  In years past, my wife and I actually enjoyed days like today (when we did not have to get outside).  I’d light a fire. We’d make some tea or coffee, and just be together. Many people find days like today to be very melancholy. I understand, now, as that is the way winter rain affects me. It amplifies my loneliness and drives home the point even more that I will not see her again until I pass through the impenetrable veil that separates us.

I just grieve in place, now.  You may have experienced running in place. In the Army, we often marched in place. The command was, “Mark time, march!” That’s from where the euphemism, “mark time”, originated. We simply kept our place in formation while still moving—but going nowhere–waiting for the next command. Grief is like that. Grief is just love with no place to go.

As many of you have experienced when you post an entry to our group site, the writing of it is very therapeutic. At least that has been my experience. Writing this column especially helps me. Not only am I able to release stress and sadness in the writing of it, but I am also lifted up by it.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to post a column every two weeks. They always come at a good time.

The astrophysicist, Carl Sagan, once said that: “Writing is perhaps the greatest human invention, binding together people who never knew (nor likely will ever know) each other. Citizens of distant epochs. The author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.”  This is true of us all. When I read the numerous postings (and columns) of you, my brothers, you all are indeed speaking clearly and silently…directly to me…inside my head. I thank you all for that!  Marcus Aurelius tells us that, “Nothing happens to a man which he is not formed by nature to bear.” That may very well be true, but I submit that bearing the pain is not meant to be born alone. We are blessed to have each other.

I work as a hospice volunteer to men who are caregivers and widowers. It always takes a bit of time to get these men in pain to open up to me. While we are “formed by nature to bear” our pain, it comes at a tremendous cost if we suffer in silence. The greatest gift we give each other is the safety to mourn openly. We read all the time how people who post on this site are truly relieved once they hit the send key. No one is ever ashamed for having bared their souls to us, and we know that we need to hear these cries of pain as much as we need to cry ourselves.

When you’re having a difficult day, you don’t have to try and turn it around. Just take comfort in knowing that you’ll never have to live that particular day again. Everything will eventually be OK. It may get worse before it gets better, but as the song says, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”

For me it’s been 15 months since my soul mate passed on to the other side. She is with me daily in spirit and finds ways to manifest that presence that never cease to amaze me.

We didn’t deserve what has happened to us. Some things will simply never be understood. Not everything, though, has to be questioned. We must “Let it be” as much as we can. Sometimes it’s the only way of setting ourselves free. By the time of my next posted column, I will have passed through the 53rd Anniversary of our marvelous life together, which lasted for 51 years. I’ll need to let that day “be” as well.

It’s raining today. Whenever it rains, it rains on everyone. Outside, everyone gets wet. Rain is never personal.

To my wife I say (daily), “tu me manques”…”I miss you.”  But I will not miss you forever, only for the remaining time we are apart.  Every day that passes is a day I’ll never have to repeat. I’m a day closer to that eternal, blissful, rapturous reunion. Knowing that keeps me going—that, and the overwhelming support and inspiration I receive from all of you. We all must make every remaining day of our lives “count”.


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