A few weeks ago, I lost one of my best friends from college to a plane crash. An immediate rush of pain and sense of helplessness came over me in a way I hadn’t quite known before. For the first time in my adult life, I lost one of the few people who knew the real me—deep down, into-my-soul me. The story of how our lives intersected and sent us forth on a path that kept us connected for over 17 years is something I will write about in due time. I’m still coping with the fact I’ll never see Steven again, but the days are getting easier as the weeks pass because 1,100 miles and a mountain range had kept us apart from our everyday lives for the past few years, anyhow.
I have my moments of ups and downs throughout the days when he crosses my mind, but I can’t even begin to imagine the pain his fiancé is enduring deep within his heart, or how he can muster the courage to wake each morning and bear a smile. When I think about what it would be like to lose Cory, it’s a thought I can’t—don’t even want to—fathom. Yet, every year in the US, nearly 800,000 people lose their spouse and face a future of uncertainty. Three-hundred-thousand of those individuals are under the age of 45.
Yes, you read that correctly—under the age of 45.
How does one cope?
Losing love . . .
Will love happen again?
Where is love found?
How can I ever move on?
I imagine those are just a few of the questions swirling in the mind of someone who is recovering from the loss of a spouse. As I looked through the library of Facing Project stories to feature the Story of the Week, a story titled, “Finding Life After Death,” from Facing Hope in Rome, Georgia, popped out at me. It’s a story of a woman who lost her husband to cancer at a young age, and she wasn’t sure how she would bounce back; but, fortunately, she had a strong support system through hospice which then led her to a group where she met a man who, too, was searching for meaning after the loss of his wife. A friendship developed and the two eventually found love—again. The writer of the story, Bonnie Jones, captured:
There is hope and joy just beyond the darkest clouds of sorrow and grief. My marriage to Steve has brought me so much joy. It has led to a new and full life with much love and happiness. I have a partner who loves me and shows that love every day.
Hope springs eternal.
“Finding Life After Death” is this week’s Facing Project Featured Story of the Week.