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Rosalie Stolinski Siciliano Headshot

Dealing With The Death Of My Husband

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When my husband died it was like being hit by a tornado. I felt like my head had been blown off and scattered among the debris and dust of his ashes. Once struck it sometimes takes years to re-arrange your being. It's not only about the nature of the loss, but what you become because of the loss. The storm hits and the damage is done. Now -- how to go about being repaired?

I must say there is no easy way for anyone. We each are individually created different and unique; we each have to find our own ways of coping with loss. Devastation in itself is like the violent rotating column of air from a storm -- but a storm usually gets grounded. For us we have to create and find a way to get grounded, and it is not something that happens overnight.

Death has invaded the entire space of my existence. I don't have a husband anymore. I don't have a partner, lover or friend. There are days I look around and I see his coffee cup on the shelf; the newspaper is still on the lawn and it is seriously quiet. It's awfully quiet. I don't hear the traffic on the road...I don't hear the TV. Why is it that it's so very " quiet" that I can't even hear the motor of the refrigerator? The first few days I felt calm, or was I frozen? I couldn't have been be frozen because it was 95 degrees outside.

Dear Lord, Ed is gone forever. What to do, how to feel, how to move, how to act, who to talk to, what to say, where to go? I become transfixed on emptiness ... the void of existence overwhelms me. I can't seem to function or think or feel. There are times when I wonder if everything around me died too. Is the grass green? Are the flowers still in the ground? Are the birds still flying? Is the sun still shining? Is the sky still blue?

I'd shimmer and shake and cry and whimper like a puppy. I didn't know who I was or what I've become. How do I face this?

The feelings and thoughts that came to my head aren't anything like they used to be. I can tell you who I am and where I live but for some reason everything else left me. I can't seem to reason with myself or think realistically.

One day falls into another and then a week goes by. Than all the phone calls and sympathy notes and flowers keep coming with no sensitivity for the compassion and concern those felt when they sent them. What is wrong with me?

I'd think to myself "I may be in the storm that is raging but don't let the storm get inside of me. Trust our Lord and He will give me peace and direction."

Praying didn't seem to be enough. I begged and begged to be heard. I really wasn't sure even if our Lord was listening to me at times.

The emotions are ruined inside. They run rampant like I'm fire and then cold then nausea. Then uncertain if and when I'll ever be who I was or even be able to function again.

I seriously doubt that I will ever be who I was when I was with my husband of 41 years. But I learned that when our Lord took my husband Ed to be with Him in heaven I knew our Lord wasn't punishing me. And I knew He wouldn't abandon me. What I had to learn was that continuous prayer and relying on His word would get me through this storm.

The difficulty was the waiting for -- what -- a miracle? No, it didn't work like that. Each day I would say the same prayer:"Where are you taking me today Lord?" Asking God to help me fulfill His mission for me. I must have prayed that prayer a thousand times over the years. As time went on and as I continued to work I realized and started to believe in the prayers I was praying. Slowly things started to come together and staying involved with the spirituality of life. I became anchored!

Keeping active and having new unexpected challenges to go forward with was an intense learning skill. I can do it. I can get through today. I can face tomorrow with a smile and I can even get to work and get through an entire day then a week. And then I have those awful set backs -- like a Summer shower and then life takes on a new color and a new wave of light to shine on the path to a new journey.

"Life isn't about waiting just for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

During the ups and downs and the storm calming down to a drizzle and looking for the calm of the waves and the sun to shine on the shimmering crests of the water I have gone forward onto the journey our Lord set sail for me.

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