Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The pain of death softens over the years

There are a lot of widows at my internship site. That is a sad reality of having so many members of older generations attending the church. While I knew this, it did not hit home until I visited the small cemetery on the church's grounds, behind the bell tower.

Back there are about a dozen graves, each except for one bears the name of a couple where one spouse has died. Seeing all of those couples separated by death pangs my heart. I am saddened to see names of people I know next to names of their deceased spouses. I am sad because these once happy couples are now divided by death. I also am sad because I never had the opportunity to see them together.

The church is very couple-oriented because that is the main demographic. The church doesn't have many families. It only has couples and singles. I wonder how grieving for a spouse would be in a congregation of happily married couples. Depending on the griever, that could be the best or the worst means of support. Thankfully, the congregation does have a few programs set up for widows and widowers.

Now I am not saying that all of these widows and widowers haven't found peace since their spouses have died. Many of the spouses died many years ago. A few widows have remarried, often to widowers. I wonder what life is like for them – living with someone whom they have come to love while still remembering the one whom they loved first. Once I get to know these couples better, I am sure that I will be able to better understand what their lives are like. A few lines from “I Can Live With That” from I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change may begin to answer the question. These two characters are a widower and a widow considering to get together:
Danny - I often think of those I miss
Melissa - Friends keep dying but I've grown strong
Danny - Sometimes I have to reminisce
Melissa - It still does hurt, just not as long.

Melissa – I will be buried at my Jim's right
Danny – Next to my Sue is my grave site
Both – But I'm still here with much to give
Danny - Some day I'll die
Melissa - For now, I'll live

Melissa - I'll always love my Jim
Danny - And I my Sue
Melissa - I, I just don't know
Danny - You think I do?
Melissa - No matter,
Both - I can live with you

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