Three and a half years ago my dear friend Cecily died from cancer. She was 33. She left behind my good buddy, and her loving husband, Jim, and their 2 year old daughter. Today she talked to Jim. Told him she loved him.
Jim was waiting on a call and wanted to use a certain room in his house where there is no phone. So he plugged in an extra phone that he didn't normally use. He doesn't use it because it has an answering machine on it. When he plugged it in, he noticed there were some old messages on it. So he pushed the "play" button.
The first message hadn't played a tenth of a second before he realized it was the voice of his dearly beloved wife. In his words (from an email I got from him today) "I gasped. It sucked the air out of the room, maybe out of the country. I burst into tears as if I'd been slapped, and yet it was from surprise, not pain. Even as I sat there weeping, hearing her voice talking to me in the very terms whose loss has riven my heart these three and a half years, I reveled in the sounds as much as ached for them. The message was brief, far too brief, yet awfully long, too. I lapped up every second of it while every second of it tore at me. I sobbed for a bit.
And then I listened to it again."
There were other messages on his machine. Friends offering condolences about Cecily's illness. Then there was a message from Cecily's brother Sean who was apologizing for not being able to come visit because, of all things he had a brain tumor! He had been diagnosed just two months after Cec.
So there sat Jim, listening to Cecily three and a half years after her death and just over a year after Sean's death. Sean telling Cec on the answering machine that he loved her and would see her as soon as he could.
In Jim's words, "I suppose he did".
And then this BEAUTIFUL paragraph from Jim.
"I've been following that path. I find new delights in every day. I don't cry much or linger over the loss or wallow in misery. I'm not miserable at all. I wear my loss like a too-heavy coat that I can't take off, but it doesn't prevent me from living or moving or even dancing.
I don't know if the coat grows lighter or if I grow stronger, but one of those things is happening. I wouldn't want it otherwise."