I received a remarkable email message from a reader of this blog who, I hasten to point out, has just endured a tragedy similar to what I have been writing about since February.
The point of this brief blog post is that he has gleaned some knowledge of what I have sought to convey from the messages I have told about my dear bride, Kathy Anne, who I lost to cancer a few months ago.
Here is what he wrote, in part: I have learned since … what you are experiencing is nothing like I suspected the situation you are in and never realizing it would be so very, very difficult. My wife … has just passed away this last month. I have discovered I never had enough empathy for others who had lost a spouse. I always considered it would be similar to losing parents, kinfolks, friends, etc. I was oh so wrong. Finding, when you lose someone who you live with and see every day is oh so much harder. Please know I now understand a bit better what you and others are going thru. I am there now.”
This message fills me with hope that I have reached others in this manner.
Frankly, I learned something from him as well. I am able to process the intense grief I continue to feel because of all that Kathy Anne and I shared. We were husband and wife for 51 of the 52 years we were together. We went through a lot together. There were many peaks and, yes, a valley or two … or maybe three.
Thus, losing a spouse is, indeed — as my friend tells me — so much more intense than losing a parent.
Kathy Anne and I really liked each other’s company. That affection lasted for the entirety of our marriage. So help me, it just doesn’t get any better than what we had.
I have sought to convey our life together and explain the struggle I am waging to regain my equilibrium.
My friend’s loss saddens me at the most essential level. It also gladdens me to know that he understands our pain. To that end, I will do what I can to continue to convey what I learn on this most difficult journey.