I don’t understand- but I know God is sovereign- became my “light in the darkness.”
“One moment at a time with Jesus” became my strength when I felt weakened by the overwhelming feelings of loss and loneliness!
The death of two of Wayne’s co-workers prompted us to have some hard discussions a few months before Wayne died.
“Do you want to be cremated or buried? “ I asked.
“I don’t really care,” he said.
“Oh, honey, you must have a preference,” I said.
“No,” he said. “You make the decision.”
Now, I’m mulling the conversation over in my head.
I was raised in a family where burial was what we did, so I never understood why my mom wanted to be cremated. “A hot fiery furnace, Mom, really?” But, that’s what she wanted and that’s what we did. Her service was a true celebration of her life. We had pictures of her and flowers- but the absence of the body truly changes the service; made it seem lighter…
I changed my mind after that – cremation wasn’t so bad after all. There were some travel plans of which other family members had informed me - so cremation for Wayne seemed logical.
I spoke with Maureen, one of my prayer partners, who had cremated her husband. “Funeral Choices of Chantilly did a remarkable job for me,” she said. Todd, my eldest son, and I met with, Donnia, one of the managers of the crematory- who made the process as painless as possible. We decided on a Wednesday service.
Wayne’s children, Todd and I had a conference call to discuss the arrangements and plan the service. Everyone worked well together and we pulled everything into place with the guidance of Pastor Paul Harris of Grace Covenant Church.
TyJuan, Wayne’s youngest son, wrote a very beautiful obituary – a true tribute to his dad.
Michael, Wayne’s stepson spoke eloquently of his love for Wayne and his appreciation of Wayne’s role as his step-dad. Todd, my eldest son, spoke of being the newest stepson and how Wayne’s open and honest communication had impressed him.
And, so it went. Each person spoke with love and true affection for Wayne. If you didn’t know him, you did by the conclusion of the service. CTI, the company Wayne worked for, turned out in record numbers to honor the man they considered not only a co-worker but also a friend. Folks came from far and wide. It warms my heart even now to remember all of the kind words people whispered as they hugged me.
We continued to celebrate his life with a meal and fellowship after the service. Wayne’s cousins from South Carolina, who I fondly call the “singing cousins;” told stories of summers in the country and growing up with Wayne. They sang a soul-stirring, good ole gospel song that had us all clapping and praising God!
We arrived home and exhaustion entered my body as I undressed. I collapsed in a chair and slept while the family moved around me. To be in the same room as they were brought me an immense measure of comfort. The thought of being ALONE after everyone left caused me great anxiety.
Little did I know that Hannah, my eldest granddaughter, would be staying with me one more week until my yearly trip to the beach with my “bestie,” Wende Parker Williams. Surely, I will be less anxious by then, I thought as I reflected on the weeks to come.
Hannah was my sidekick the entire week after Wayne’s homegoing service. Having company was a true comfort. I have such a vivid imagination and my senses were on “hyper-alert” the slightest unexpected noise made my pulse race and my anxiety increase.
We met Todd and Marzetta to drop Hannah off on our way to Holden Beach, NC. And, as usual, the beach once again, wrapped its healing arms around me. The ocean gently rocked me as I cried and began to release my pain to the sand, surf, and ocean tides. Wende and I have this marvelous way of being there and not being obtrusive for one another. We have walked through my divorce from my children’s father; Ruben, my second husband’s death, Wende’s divorce, and now the death of another husband for me. WHEW!!!
I MADE this entry in my journal as I was sitting on Holden Beach at Sunset. The sky was glistening with beautiful pinks and golds scattering above me. The sun displayed diamonds on the water, and I wrote…. JUST AS SURELY AS THE WHITE CLOUDS BILLOW IN THE BLUE SKY AND THE SEAS RISE AND LOWER WITH THE TIDE…. I WILL SURVIVE THE LOSS OF ANOTHER HUSBAND!!
I arrived home before dark, just as planned. Darkness and my vivid imagination were two forces that I did not want to deal with! Not yet, anyway. I learned to make my living space smaller, closing the other bedroom doors decreased the emptiness I felt in the house. Having a light on and shining brightly on each of the three levels – eliminated the shadows. However, loneliness still dripped off the walls and puddled around my feet. I was holding on tightly to God’s hand… one moment at a time… one step at a time!
Nora Neal-Daggett is the expert on overcoming heartache and disappointment.
Nora has a passion to help others navigate the thorny path of loss.
In spite of the deaths of not one, but, two husbands- she has persevered and has a passionate message to the world;
“Loss is a station in life, not a destination.”
With deep insight, empathy and compassion, Nora will construct the path that will move You, or some one who you have come alongside to move from mourning to joy..To step out of the wave of grief!
She incorporates the practice of prayer and trusting God.
She provides dynamic principles to move the participant from pain and heartache to acceptance and healing.
Take the hand of the Grief Navigator, begin healing today!