Grace in the midst of grief

Two days after I lost my beloved husband and soul mate, I walked into our garage where Mike took his life. I sat cross-legged on the cold floor, one knee resting on the leather jacket that the paramedics cut off his body, surrounded by pieces of gauze and other medical debris, a pool of his dried blood spread out in front of me. I thought it would be horrible to be there, and I only made myself do it because I thought it might bring on a catharsis of tears.

But it wasn’t horrible at all. It was peaceful.

I lay down on the floor, rested my head on the soft lining of his jacket — the jacket I gave him for his birthday three years ago and he wore almost constantly — and I cried. Then I started to talk to him, telling him everything that was in my heart. When there were no more words, I closed my eyes and lay still… and I felt a peace like I’ve only ever known in his arms. The weight of grief lifted.

I knew, I felt in every fiber of my being, that Mike is at peace now. He was in so much pain for so long, and he kept going… for me. But now he’ll never hurt again and I’m thankful for that, even glad for him. It’s my turn to shoulder the pain so he can be free.

I wrote this in my journal as I sat there:

Mike, my love… Maybe we were wrong that there is nothing beyond this life. Maybe there is a soul, or a spirit or whatever you want to call it. Because what I feel here, what I felt when I put my cheek against the soft lining of your jacket ad closed my eyes… it’s not the empty finality of “gone” but a tangible, present peace. Maybe what I’m feeling is what you felt in your final moments. But I don’t think that’s all it is. Here, in this place, I can feel you at peace, free from pain, free from the crushing weight of depression. And I feel that you continue.

And I’m happy that you left this life with the ring that I gave you on your finger, to remind you, as we said in our wedding vows, that I am always by your side and I will always love you… and wrapped in the leather jacket I gave you, wrapped in my love. I’m going to have the jacket cleaned and sewn back together, and I’ll wear it whenever I need to feel this peace again, to be wrapped in your love.

I thought that half of my soul was gone, torn away, destroyed when you died… but I was wrong. Half of my soul is free.


~ by hourbeforedawn on March 12, 2010.

9 Responses to “Grace in the midst of grief”

  1. aching and heartbreaking and incredibly powerful at the same time. You are amazing. And I believe there is some continuation after we leave this form-not heaven and clouds and harps and stuff-but something.

  2. Sweet wordsmith thank you for baring your soul…my heart aches from the grief you feel. your words express the longing i feel daily for my moms arms…I am glad you found some peace in his arms again…in the jacket he wore. many blessings to you

  3. How raw and vulnerable this post is. I give you respect for sharing your heart so openly, and to really embrace what must have initially been a horrifying experience. Best of energies to you in going forward in your life. Peace, Vanessa

  4. I really don’t think I could say it better than Vanessa.
    Each day since i found out I check in on you , each time my heart opens to you and the hope I feel for you to get through this is so huge within me.
    Sending you love and listening to you and as Vanessa said respecting you so much for sharing this so openly.

  5. Dearest Lira, I also felt a calming peace come over me as Gerry and I sat in the car next to the garage the day after Michael died. We went to the garage early that morning and put flowers by the garage door while waiting for the rest of the world to awake. I had written some strong words the night before because I was very angry with Michael for leaving us. As the calm flowed over me I realized that I had to destroy the angry note I had written. This one experience started a chain of events that continues to this day. I had implored Michael to talk to me! I needed to know that he was safe! I know now that he is in a better place, free from worldly cares and pain. Our family misses him so much and it seems odd that he provided everyone with humor and music but could not find that peace in himself. We love you!

  6. Darling Lira, my heart aches for the anguish you felt when you lost your beloved. I am so relieved you have found a measure of peace to console you. Hold onto it and know that there is a very special continuance of our souls when we leave our earthly vessels. Michael’s spirit soars in the cosmos and cherishes the love you shared together here in this earthly space. Those that we love and lose are no longer where they were before….they are now forever in our hearts (and in the heavens too! 🙂 God bless you and share the peace that only He can provide. Take care. Your cousin Pinky

  7. I too have lost my husband to the same sad fate as yours. I am so sorry for your loss. I only wish that I could find the peace and calm that you have. I too have felt his spirit within the walls of our home. Anthony too was in so much pain for so long and I know that he is in a better place.
    Take care and be kind to yourself

    • Michele, I’m so sorry that you have to understand what this is like. I have a measure of peace and acceptance at times (like when I posted that), but it comes and goes… Other times I want to just wail my heart out or curl up in a ball and hide from the world. And sometimes I think the calm is nothing but shock, and I dread what the grief will feel like when that starts to wear off. Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your feedback.

  8. this is really, really powerful.

    i often find those moments of peace as well.

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