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Monday, March 8, 2010

Empathy is a powerful emotion

It's been an emotional couple of days. Last Thursday, the day I started my blog, an employee of my husband's company fell off a ladder coming off a building at the end of his work day and did not survive.
He was only 29 years old, married with 3 young children. We attended his funeral today and while I did not know this young man or his family, I was overwhelmed with a sense of loss and grief.
I've been just where they are right now and my heart aches for them when I think of the days they face ahead.
Empathy is a powerful emotion.
I was reminded of that day in my life at the end of 2003 when I buried my young husband. I know all too well how it will feel in a couple of days, after the endless swarms of people bearing food, toilet paper, and hugs are gone.
Life goes on and it goes on fast. That felt like a sort of betrayal to me, as odd as that may sound but grief often cannot be rationalized with. I sat at this funeral today getting a glimpse into a life of a person I never knew and fiercely fighting back the tears I knew would be tough to stop.
I wanted to somehow take the pain away from his family but unfortunatley life does not work that way and I've no magic wand. Instead I will pray for them and let them know that life does go on and one day it will no longer be infuriating that it does.
I will tell them that one morning you will wake up and that sick, painful feeling in the pit of your stomach will not be the first thing you feel.
Eventually, it will become a scar and a well deserved one it will be. Yes, life does go on...on earth, but most importantly in heaven and that is the greatest comfort anyone could ever hope to receive...
A poem God gave me the words to a few years ago that I am reminded of now:
God's Voice

I still so vividly remember
standing in the street
on that cold day in December,
even the shoes I wore on my feet

"She's in shock", someone said
and maybe this was so
but I was praying in my head,
"Oh please, God, please God, NO!"

"I didn't get to say goodbye
or one more "I Love You"
How could you do this, God?
How could you be so cruel?"

I woke up the next morning
thinking maybe it was all a dream
I kept my voice to a minimum
but I really just wanted to scream!

Who where all these people
compassionately invading my space?
I was overwhelmed with the intensity
and depth of pain on every face

Some just came in and hugged me
because they didn't know what to say
I'll never forget the love
they showed to me that day

Many brought cakes and casseroles
and any kind of food you could want
They all asked me if I wanted to eat
but I always said, "I don't"

The day of the funeral
was the next hardest day of my life
After nearly ten years of loving him,
I was suddenly no more his wife

I placed the three red roses there
on the casket to signify
our eternal love for a husband and father
that could never, ever die

Angels must have carried me
back across that road that day
My legs alone couldn't have done it
There's just really no way

I took his little hand in mine
and carried the baby too
I somehow felt as if
that was the right thing to do

We'd walk away together,
a little family, now of three
trusting God had His reasons
for why this had to be

It's been a difficult journey
and continues to be so
and sometimes if I think too hard
I sink down very low

It is at these times I pray
for God to ease my pain
and He reminds me once again
to use it for another's gain

So I'll continue to try
to carry on with dignity and grace
and when another feels this pain
I'll see it in their face

I'll say a little prayer first,
asking God to give me the words
Then I'll speak with love and empathy
in hopes that God's voice will be heard

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