During those early months of sorrow, while Lee buried himself in his pastoral duties, I isolated myself. I found sustenance in talking with God and journaling. Fortunately, my English professor allowed me this grief-focus in my daily compositions. This process became my emotional salvation and healing.
On warm days, I would spread a blanket under an oak tree next to Angie’s grave and write.
One day, Lee hesitantly approached the subject. “Honey, your dad asked me to talk to you. He…he’s concerned because you spend so much time at Angie’s grave and—well, I’m concerned, too.”
I turned to stare at him. “Why?”
“We love you, sweetheart.”
“I know that. But grief is a private thing—personal.” I felt the stirring of anger. How dare they?
I looked him in the eye. “Lee, have I told you how to grieve?”
“Then, I expect the same respect from you. I can’t turn things off like some—just walk away from it. I’m not wired for denial. I have to work through this in my own way.”
Lee didn’t tread in that area again. One morning, weeks later, I felt him fall across the bed, waking me. His head cradled against my bosom and I quickly realized he was weeping.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, instantly awake, embracing him.
“I miss her so-o-o,” he wailed and sobbed. “I was playing the Carpenters’s music tapes on the way to school—and she used to sing along.” I embraced him until the storm passed.
Lee’s grief was sporadic and violent while mine flowed like a deep river. Yet, neither surpassed the other. For weeks, months, in predawn hours, we held each other and wept before facing another day.
One thing stands out: our being there for each other.
All these years later, we share the unique bond of loss, each silently bearing up the other during difficult moments. No one else could have filled either place.
Emily Sue Harvey is the author of multiple novels published by The Story Plant. The e-book versions of her novels Song of Renewal and Twilight Time are available for the special price of $2.99 for the entire month of October, 2017.