I have been away from blogging for quite a while now. No reason too big, just life takes over sometimes and I haven't made time to stop and well, just stop! I have so much I'd like to say but everything I think is important really pales in comparison to the pain I've been feeling the past few days. Here's the scoop:
On Thursday of last week, I was blessed to travel to Cocoa Beach with one of my dearest friends, Jill. It was glorious and beautiful and relaxing and... I will, of course, attach some pictures just to show off a bit!
With the splendor of Florida and the lazy days of sunbathing and walking the beach and eating and lounging came much time to reflect. I love reflecting because, inevitably, it leads to deep conversations with God and with my other trusted friend, Jill. Bill came up in most of these reflections. It's hard to be a single in a "couple's world". I know that there are many divorced and single people out there but after 12 years of being with the same man, it's beyond my realm of thinking to imagine myself with anyone else.
My thoughts see-sawed from sadness to anger and from regret to disappointment. I kept hoping for happiness and relief or peace and hope but they were drowned out by the other feelings. I know they are in there because I loved my husband and out of loyalty to him, I've kept myself from daring to voice, out loud, (there's a difference between having a bad thought and voicing it) how upset I've been. I know that this is part of the grief process and most probably thought that after 2 years, I would have been "over it" by now. Heck, I sometimes wonder why I'm not "over it" yet!
On our last afternoon in Florida, I received devastating news that a very good friend of mine had died. He left behind a wife and two kids. He was loved by many people because of his sense of humor, his kindness, and his genuine friendship. So, I wonder if God was preparing me to aid this family by allowing me to grieve so openly and honestly on days prior to this. I was able to put my focus on this beautiful family and begin to help them grieve and prepare for life without daddy or without Jeff.
I came upon this sentence in I Believe in Love that answered the question of why can't I suffer and be done with it and be happy? This latest tragedy challenges this dynamic of suffering and happiness. Here's the sentence that gave (gives) me hope "Let us go even further and say that happiness and suffering are inseparable." At first I thought that only the pious of the pious can feel both of these things at the same time. Who would want to embrace suffering? I never set out to be Job or a martyr! Upon further reading I came across this further explanation:
"In spite of that, remember that Jesus is filled with compassion for those who suffer. He has borne all our sufferings; He has endured them Himself at Gethsemane and on Calvary; but He knows that they are necessary to us, so 'He sends them to us as if with an averted gaze,' says little Therese, as if He did not have the courage to watch us suffer. But He sees at the same time the happiness it will merit for us, the glory it acquires for His Father, for Him, for us, and the graces it merits for souls; so in love, in mercy, in tenderness, He hesitates no longer to lay it upon our poor shoulders, while continuing to sustain it Himself, making Himself our 'Simon of Cyrene.'"
Please say a little prayer today for the soul of Jeff Hankins, for his wife Regina and for their children Alex and Andrew. Many hearts are heavy at the loss of this beautiful man.