.... ummmm, what? Doesn't that sound a bit rude? SORRY to meet you?
Well, one would assume that the above statement is very rude indeed ...... if one is a person who is not reading this blog because they are not on this "path".
For the women (and men) who read this blog because you are on this path, I am very, very sorry to meet you.
Let me introduce myself ..... I am Janine Eggers and I have been walking this path for 15 months. My husband, Jim, died suddenly and horrifically on December 18, 2007. One week before Christmas. Three weeks before his 48th birthday. Five months before our 25th wedding anniversary.
He woke up early on the morning of December 17th, with pain in his throat. It turned out to be a tear in his aorta. My children and I had about 7 hours with him before they took him into surgery that would "save his life" (80 - 90% chance ... or so I was told). He never made it out.
So now I walk this path. Some people refer to it as a club, but I think the word "club" implies something a bit more .... fun. Something you choose to join. Something that makes you happy when new members join.
This path .... not so much. I hate it. You hate it. We did not choose to be here and we would give up everything we own, everyone we love, to get back off of it.
So yes, I am sorry to meet you. My heart breaks every single time I meet, or hear of, a new widow.
I have 6 children who are learning to walk on their own path, too. They seem to be doing much better than I am, but then .... they have suffered a different kind of loss, so it doesn't help to try to make comparisons.
Our oldest three children are girls, 24, 21 & 21 (identical girls) and then we have 3 boys, 18, 16 and 14.
Yes, my hands have always been full ..... but in such a wonderful way.
So now I walk this path. And as horrible as it is ..... I have found some spots of light along the way. And surprise, surprise ..... these spots of light are each one of you who are on it with me.
In the horribleness that is my life ..... I have seen good. And the good happens whenever I "meet" one of you. Yes, I'm sorry you have any reason to find this blog. Yes, my heart breaks for the pain you now have ...... but after I get past that part .... I find amazement.
I have met the most amazing people on this path. And the thing I find the most amazing is how truly quickly and deeply we connect with one another. My broken, grieving heart can instantly recognize another broken and grieving heart --- and they each reach out to the other. It's not something I have any control over ..... it's not a decision I make. It just happens. My heart leads the way.
Grief has softened my heart and given it eyes and ears for other hearts in pain.
And I am amazed every single time it happens. I am amazed at the depth of love I can feel for a complete stranger ....... just because she is grieving. I want to reach out through my computer screen and hug that person .... long and hard.
I miss those hugs.
So .... although I am so very sorry to meet you, I'm glad that we've met.. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, making new friends and sharing what I've learned on this path (as well as learning from each of you).
I am honored to be a writer on this blog. I know, without a doubt, that my life has taken a new twist here in my "after" (I describe my life as "before" and "after"). I look forward to meeting more of you .... especially (and hopefully) at the conference in July in San Diego.
Again ..... I would never, ever choose to be on this path .... if given the choice. But it seems that it was not my choice to choose. And so I put one foot in front of the other ..... sometimes it's 3 steps forwards, 5 steps back, but it is what it is.
And I am so grateful for the people I've met along the way. People who let me know that I'm not crazy, or ready to be placed in an institution.
I didn't get "the book" on how to deal with this, as none of you did.
And so we move forward, one step at a time ..... one breath at a time.
And if, in meeting you .... and seeing your light, God shows me just a wee bit of light in my life and in my circumstances..... then I am more grateful than words can say.
So ..... even though I'm sorry to meet you ...... I'm glad that we've found each other.
Very, very glad.