I yelled at Chris last night. I suppose you can say I am beginning my “anger” phase though I am still very much in denial. “Why did you have to leave me?!” I shouted at the ceiling of my dark room. I was sobbing and flailing about my bed like a small child who didn’t want to go to sleep. “I hate being without you! I don’t want to be without you and you left me here! I need you, love!” I was pissed. My heart was wrenching and I felt out of control. I am out of control. I want my husband back and I can’t bring him back. I couldn’t keep him from leaving me either. He had to. I know he had to. It is actually very selfish of me to have wanted him to stay longer. His body was failing him and he held on as long as he could. So then that brings me to my frustrations with God. Not that I actually have the compacity to put into question anything God does, but I am upset with Him that He couldn’t have just healed my husband and taken someone else who has lived a long life. Someone who should go. It just doesn’t make any sense and it is maddening that good, young people like my husband are taken away before they can really do great things in this life.
“God heals in three ways: He heals through miracles, He heals through medicine, and He heals through death.”
Our hospice chaplain shared those words at my husband’s memorial service. I was taken aback at first and I know others were too. We sat there, stiff, and not ready to accept those very true words spoken. It is much easier to be angry with God than it is to accept this outcome. It’s even easy for me to be selfishly angry with Chris because he left me. I’m the one who is stuck here feeling the most intense pain I will ever feel and having to do it alone. The one person I want to share my pain and sadness with is my husband and he is gone. So yeah, I’m irrationally mad at him for not just healing himself of the cancer and popping up out of his hospital bed to live a longer life with me. But the chaplain’s words still ring in the back of my mind. I hate it because I know why I don’t want to accept it, because it actually softens my heart when I do. I want to stew in my anger, dammit! I want to feel powerful in the most vulnerable and helpless period of my life and softening my heart means to give up my power. God has a way of humbling us though. Humility is another lesson I am learning in this process. In my humanity, I forget the greater purpose of this life. It isn’t to covet what we have here on earth including the love we share with our spouses. This life isn’t ours, we don’t own anything here, and the love that we share was given to us. What we have is God’s, so our goal should be to take up our cross and walk a life in Christ so that we can experience the true life, eternal. This may not be what everyone believes, but even from a more general spiritual standpoint, we can know that this world only brings death, but our energy goes somewhere else. So in a way, I should be rejoicing for my husband because he is experiencing eternal life now. He isn’t in pain anymore and he isn’t struggling with the anger the disease in his brain caused. He is in the place we all want to be, with Christ. God healed him.
So as I struggle to soften my heart in my selfish and prideful humanity, I want my husband to know that while I am angry at the circumstance of his loss, I am happy for him too. I watched his body degrade for months and he struggled a great deal in his body as the disease spread, so it would be cruel of me to not feel some joy for his relief now. I thank God that I believe in the resurrection of Christ. It brings me some peace knowing that my husband now shares in that resurrection. So for now, I will allow myself some anger, but I won’t let it get out of control. I can at least control that. The rest is God’s.