I will admit that I have uttered the phrase, "Why me?" on more than one occasion. I could follow that with the similar, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why is THAT person still alive while Phil is dead?" and a few others that are equally ugly. But the land of the ugly is where I resided for quite a while, and sometimes a place I still visit. The infuriating thing is that no matter how many times I have asked myself, God, or my closest friends these questions; I never get an answer that I find acceptable.
I guess that is because there is no acceptable answer. I can't think of any reason good enough to explain Phil being taken from us. Sorry, I don't believe that God needed him. And while I am certain that he IS in a better place, I can't think of any place I'd rather him be than here, on earth, with me, and his children, and all the people whose daily lives were enriched by knowing him. But that is not what happened. Period. So, I eventually stopped searching for the reason, and began searching instead for the strength to make the most of the days I have left. Don't get me wrong...I am one of the strongest women most people know (maybe you have also heard this well meant line?), and yet I have to seek the personal courage I need to allow happiness into my life, to face the day knowing that the outcome is not guaranteed, and to trust regardless of my current emotional state. Not easy, and some days just not possible.
My parents celebrated 40 years of married life yesterday. This photo is of them dressed as pirates (I should note here that they usually don't dress like pirates so that my mom won't kill me for posting this photo!) living it up at one of our themed family gatherings. As a widow, how do I celebrate the longevity of other people marriages? Some folks would think this is easy; these are my parents we are talking about! But you know that it isn't always as easy as it should/could/might be. My mom told me the other day that she didn't know why her and my dad were blessed with so many married years, while many of their friends have lost their spouses over the last decade. She marveled aloud at the gift of their time together, and guess what...she doesn't know why they were the lucky ones. In the same way I do not know why I am not going to celebrate 40 years of marriage to Phil. The lesson I took from our conversation was that life is an unpredictable ride, and the best we can do is be very, very grateful for what we do have, when we do have it.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad...I can't think of anything more beautiful than celebrating the reason that I have the ability to love. You first taught me how.