Thursday, February 17, 2011

Silent Prayer.

A good friend and neighbor of mine lost her husband unexpectedly on Tuesday night. He was 36.

I woke up Wednesday morning to the news -- stunned cold, stricken, physically immobilized by shock and disbelief.

I knew Tom. Not as well as I know Angela or their five year old daughter who's one of Bean's best friends, but enough that when I caught a glance of him last Monday, from 15 feet away, out of the very farthest corner of my eye, in the dance studio where our daughters take dance, I knew immediately who he was, and shy little me could comfortably stop to chat.

Enough that I miss him. I feel his absence already. The absence of knowing that he's there.

His broad-shouldered form has followed me everywhere I've gone since Wednesday morning. He was just out of the corner of my eye as I glanced over my shoulder in Costco, leaning against the wall in the hallway at the preschool when I picked up Peabody, once even standing relaxed in my own kitchen, fingers loosely wrapped around a beer, then a big-bear's outline in the passenger seat of Angela's car as I saw her drive out of the neighborhood this afternoon.

It's a new one on me, this sudden disappearance, this instant, gaping-hole sucking of a life right up out of my every-single-day world. And I confess I don't know, on my own, in any tiny corner of my brain or heart -- simply can't concoct a single fiber of an idea - how to even lock eyes with Angela. How to make myself into a shoulder strong enough to bear a piece of what she now carries, this impossible weight that fell on her in the blink of an eye. How to stand there, breathing, alive, in front of her. Just me.

Yet Wednesday morning, my heart flashed like lightening to her side the instant I heard the news. It left at 5:57 AM. The rest of me was on her doorstep 3 hours later, after I got both kids to school. In those three hours, everything inside me silently screamed one short prayer.

Please just take me and make me do what she needs.
Just take me and make me do what she needs."

And I've been busy ever since. Not of my own doing. Only because He heard, and He leads me, and for once (for control-freak, do-it-myself me), it's much more comfortable for me to just follow than to try to figure this one out on my own.

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  1. Megan - I am so sorry. Know that I'm praying with you that God will take you and make you do what Angela needs. I would imagine that your presence alone means the world to her.

  2. Set yourself a reminder somehow in an online calendar so that next year you'll remember the anniversary of his death and it will mean so much to her, that you can be there for her when this date approaches.

    And be there for her now, as you are doing... but also be there for her after everyone has stopped being there for her, after it's no longer an emergency.

    (A good friend whose husband died felt the absolute worst at the one-year anniversary of his death when everyone else had moved on and nobody said anything to her on the anniversary date and she felt like he'd been forgotten.)

    So sad... her family will be in my prayers. :(

  3. Thanks Boomama!

    Great advice, Cameron. You're so right.

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  5. Megan
    My 17 year old daughter's boyfriend was killed by a hit-and-run driver just after midnight on December 13th. He was like a member of our family, and we still keenly feel the loss. Every. single. day. The thing that helped the most were people just being there. Sounds like you have that covered. Like Cameron said, it's easy for others to move on about the business of living. There isn't anything wrong with that, but we sure do appreciate when it's obvious that the people around us realize that we are still adjusting to our "new" normal. My prayers are with you and your friend.

  6. So sad. I'm glad you are following God's leading and are there for her. At this point I'm sure she doesn't even know what she needs.

  7. Today was the one-year anniversary of the sudden death of my husband. At the age of 42, I was a widow. Too soon. Based on what I went through, you are doing for her what she needs by just being there. I might not have been able to talk, or maybe I didn't want to talk about what had happened or what was happening, but my friends were there just in case. Just keeping themselves busy in the waiting room, in my living room. Just sitting with me listening. Words aren't always necessary, but your presence is.

  8. J. Johnson - I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope your friends and family have continued to be with you and are with you today, especially. Thank you so much for this. It confirms what I've been thinking and makes me more certain that what I feel led to do is, in fact, the right thing. Many blessings to you and your family.

  9. My dearest friend lost her two-month-old daughter suddenly and unexpectedly just short of a year ago. I know exactly how you feel. I remember being completely unable to formulate any prayers-- only the words "Dear God, Oh God help me" over and over and over. I think the best thing is just to be there, right by her side, as much as is humanly possible. Being with Laura in those early days felt very much like my experiences as a doula during labour and birth... the same sort of basic comfort measures (food, drink, back rubs, cool cloths, tissues) seemed to calm during unbearable grief as they ease labour.

  10. what a bummer,way to young to be gone. Prayers being oiffered.

  11. Your little heart has taken quite a beating this year! I know it's nothing like what hers is going through, but it does help to be busy helping. Cameron had some really good points.
    In case the neighbors are organizing dinners, here's a link to some yummy-looking recipes:
    Also, there's a website where everyone can sign up to bring dinners: so one person isn't bearing that burden.
    I will most certainly be praying for Angela and her family right now.

  12. Megan, I lost my husband unexpectedly, and here is what helped most of all. Never say - call me if you need anything, rather go and be there. Everyone told me to call and I never ever did. I had a friend who zapped out and arrived with dishwasher tablets, tissues, roller towel etc and just took over cleaning and keeping the house looking ok. She didn't mind when I got up and worked alongside her, or when I went and curled up in a ball. She didn't do much talking, but she held me when I needed holding too. And I made the mistake of trying to do everything myself. Make calls for her - especially to businesses. And take your daughter and let the girls play together.
    So many things I did wrong, and now I try to do what was right for me, and it has helped others who have had losses too. It is a living nightmare, believe me.
    And another thing - it can take years and years to work through grief. Let her be angry, or weep.You can't fix it, but just keeping the wheels turning is the most incredible gift.
    My heart goes out to your friend, and to you. She is lucky to have you close by.

  13. Cheryl in TennesseeFebruary 18, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    God did such a wonderful job when He made you. You remind me of a stain-glass window. Such a thing of beauty to behold. All we have to do is cast a glance in that direction, and the beauty always satisfies, fills the need for comfort, the glass (and you)drive away all the ugly darkness that might be hanging around when the light shines from inside.
    You have such a beautiful heart, God bless you.

  14. Oh sweet Cheryl... I don't deserve this. Or you! But I'll take you. You are such a blessing to me. :) xo

  15. This could be any one of us going through this situation. We do not know how many days have been ordained for us on this Earth. I pray daily that my husband and I can enjoy a long life together, but none of us know how long we have.

    Praying for this family, and for yours as you minister to them through friendship.

  16. Just stumbled upon your blog - you had me at fried and then okra. Just doesn't happen in England - love okra fried or stewed.

  17. I'm so sorry to hear this Megan. I am thankful that you can be there to help her through this darkness. You are a wonderful companion and she is blessed to have you by her side. xoxo Julie

  18. This happened to one of my very best friends - Dec was a year ago. I was stunned. They have a 4 year old daughter. Life changed for them . . . in an instant. It's hard to know what to do . . . you're a wonderful friend!

  19. just pray for her and be there. after the shock fades.
    my dad died suddenly and the first year was hard, but the second year was torture. everyone forgot about us while we were facing the fact that he really was gone.