Today is Veteran’s Day. Every Veteran’s Day, I sent Mr. Virgo a note thanking him for his service. His father was a veteran. His late daughter was a veteran. My dad, my uncle, my first husband, my niece, my late father-in-law…all veterans. Mr. Virgo had military honors at his funeral. I cannot hear taps without feeling a catch in my throat. This time of year brings him closer to the surface.
The other day, one of my dear friends posted a video. In it, she addressed her friends and family. Her nose was red from crying. She sniffled as tears slowly dripped down her cheeks. This is the angelversary week of her husband’s death. It hits her hard every year and even though it’s been eleven years, she relives his final days over and over. It broke my heart. And, of course, it made me think of Mr. Virgo. His was a sudden death. No warning. No long goodbyes. Thankfully, no suffering. I cannot imagine a lingering death. It crushes me.
While I haven’t cried for him in quite some time, that doesn’t mean I never will again. It certainly doesn’t mean I’m through with grief and loss. That’s something that is forever imprinted in the fibers of my being. But I will say this…I don’t let myself “go there” very often. I used to meditate on him. I felt it was necessary to purge myself of as many tears as possible to clean out my heart from this terrible pain. When tears wouldn’t come, I would look at a picture of him in his casket taken at the viewing… white turtleneck, ivory sweater, hair carefully combed, glasses missing from the CPR efforts. I know that sounds absolutely macabre, but somehow I needed that pain to burn itself out or the fire was going to consume me. I knew this without a doubt.
Time and distance has softened Mr. Virgo’s death somehow. It’s like looking at the horizon without my glasses. I see the line…it’s just blurred. If I concentrate, I can bring it back into focus because it’s always there…just beyond where the light spills over. But, something interesting happens when he brushes up against my mind now. When I get close to the memories, I “feel” him instead of “see” him. I mean…literally. While there are some passages in the Bible that allow for a little wiggle room in the idea of “ghosts”, Evangelical Christians believe that we are absent from this place once we die. However, it isn’t far fetched to believe that God may use visions, smells and touch to evoke loving memories of loved ones who have passed.
The other night, Mr. FixIt and I were talking and he said the sweetest thing. He said, “How can we love each other this much?” Immediately, I felt something brush up over my right arm. It surprised me and I sat very still. I looked down at my arm and thought hard. “Do it again.” I whispered in my mind. And there it was…a distinct “touch”…like static electricity on my right forearm. I smiled and looked up at Mr. FixIt. I don’t know how we can love each other this much, but we do.
And…I’ve a feeling someone else approves. ❤️
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV