I will start this post with a disclaimer: Our minds make things much harder than they almost always are. That said, I will confess that this past week has been a hard one, as I prepared myself for the 1-year memorial service that was held at our church today to mark my husband’s death.
I’ve been up and down with my emotions all week, and it seemed that the smallest thing would bring tears to my eyes. I’ve had little energy and just didn’t really want to talk with anyone. I did not like the way I was feeling, but couldn’t seem to get on top of my emotions.
It came to me this morning while I was writing in my journal how I felt — I’ve heard many families be pitied, who have to sit in the court room to hear the cases that related to a crime against their loved one. They say: “It’s like we are reliving that day all over again.” I’ve seen the raw emotions in their faces, as I’ve watched proceedings from a distance on TV.
That was how I felt before the service today — like I would be sitting in a courtroom and reliving the first funeral. That’s what I prepared myself for.
Yet, God always surprises. I think the first barrier of my feelings came down when I saw a couple I had not seen since before Raouf left us. They too, had experienced a tragic triple loss of family members all at the same time in an accident, and because they traveled, I had not been able to visit — then Raouf died, then my father died, then Dan Watts died…I just couldn’t face visiting them and talking any more about grief. But they came today, and I almost immediately thanked the Lord, that if for no other reason, Raouf’s service brought them to the church — out of their own grief and into the arms of a family who love them dearly.
As I saw face after face of those we loved and who loved us, I realized I was not in a courtroom, but around the banquet table — talking over the good memories and enjoying the bountiful blessings of God in our lives. Rev. Maged put it best at the end of the service — God took Raouf right at Thanksgiving, so that every year, we will be forced to focus on the blessings of God in having known him and in seeing what God has done since his departure. It is not a time to be sad, but to rejoice in how God has used him in the lives of many.
As Nathan and I were driving home, with the fragrance of the beautiful flowers given by the church overwhelming the car, I asked him how he did. He said: “Better than I thought I would.” I said: “Me too.” It was a good reminder to focus not on my feelings, but on the Lord. God is good.
Grace and Peace