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Fifteen Years.

Lonely Woman Silhouette Swinging At Sunset On The Beach

Fifteen years.  That’s a lot of years. 

This would have been a milestone anniversary for us, I like to think.  Our pattern was to celebrate bigger on the fives. 

This feels like a bigger anniversary because it also means that I’ve now ‘celebrated’ half as many anniversaries without him as I ever had with him. How can it be that I’ve been without him for nearly half the time I had him at all?

I sat out on the deck reading Where The Heart Is, a book that was one of Oprah’s Book Club selections probably twenty years ago.  (How can I be old enough to re-read something Oprah recommended twenty years ago?) I had just finished the scenes about Novalee and Americus in the days after Sister Husband dies, when they are all lost without her.  Nobody knows what to do for Novalee, except for the older women in the town who know they can only let her be, that even love won’t make anything better for a long time. 

Americus brings her little doctor kit to her momma.  She uses her little plastic stethoscope and a wooden tongue depressor, and she says, “Mommy’s heart was breaked.”  She gives her two m&m’s for her broken heart, and then she puts one into her own mouth.  She says, “I have a breaked heart, too.”

And then it says, “For the next week Novalee dragged through the days and nights, the consequence, she reasoned, of a breaked heart.”  And something about that sentence undid me. 

I broke into these wracking sobs that surprised me, foreign because I made no sounds at all.  I crumpled over my open book, one hand near my face like I was catching a sneeze, and one hand reaching for the chair next to me, as if he were sitting just outside my reach.  I don’t know how long I sat there, frozen like that, soundlessly weeping. 

That’s when the presence came, the one I’ve come to know.  The air gets thick in those moments of wholly other, when the spirit of something is near me.  Perhaps the spirit of Robb, or a spirit of remembering, or the Holy Spirit himself.  I don’t know who was with me, but I was not alone. 

I whispered, “Please, please don’t go.  Please don’t leave me yet,” for I don’t know how long.

When I opened my eyes, my book still lay open on my lap, the pages streaked gray with ink and mascara.  The air was damp and cool, as if it had rained, as if it were cooled by a thunderstorm passing through.  That old friend from far away is so familiar to me. 

I bought myself a bouquet of daisies today.  Because.

Lonely Woman Silhouette Swinging At Sunset On The Beach

Tricia Lott Williford

Comments are closed

  1. How does one comment to such a touching sharing of your life? I absolutely don’t know. But thank you.

  2. Kill. Me. Now. We are never forsaken, Dear Heart. Hugs.

    • It was Him.

      Psalm 34:18

      The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
      and saves the crushed in spirit.

  3. Tricia-
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful, raw, and poignant thoughts. I am so sorry for your loss. My sister in sorrow, I am a 7 month member of that club that no woman ever wants to join. Widowhood just sucks. It’s reassuring to have brave souls like yourself share glimpses of your journey. I agree with the previous comments that stated they thought your visitor was the Holy Spirit sent by your dear Robb. I hope it brings you peace knowing that you are not alone in your sorrow. God bless you and your tender heart, I will pray for you.

  4. Mary DeMuth calls those moments when heaven is so close “Thin Places”. There’s only a veil between here and there, and in the endless seconds where we are most heartbroken, we touch eternity. I’m glad you felt a Presence. I’m so sorry for your pain. Praying for comfort for you and your boys.

  5. That is a family favorite… We love that story.

  6. I’m sorry you’re hurting. You should be celebrating with Robb today and instead you’re writing for us. I’m sure that was the Holy Spirit comforting you. Maybe Robb sent him or was near him. I’m not sure how that works, but I do know He sees you, He cares for you, and He draws near to the broken-hearted. God bless you and your little guys as you continue to navigate through this journey.

  7. You were gifted with a real life experience of His promise to never forsake us, Tricia. How good of Him!

    Suggested subtitle “A Breaked Heart.”

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