Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Personal Look at Death and Resurrection

Resurrection is the theme of the day for Christians everywhere. But whether this day is a religious celebration for you, or a bunny hop, or just another Sunday...those of us who grieve have a unique knowledge of the experience of death and resurrection.

Because when our loved one died, we did too. The person who did not know what living in a nightmare while awake was like, died. The person who could not imagine a life without their partner, died. The person who never cried more tears than they imagined existed, died. The person whose life was once filled with the daily ups and downs of being a part of a couple died to the pain of wishing for just one more regular day with someone who is never coming home.

The death of myself through the process of losing Phil changed so many things about my personality that for a long time I didn't recognize myself. I wondered many times if the girl I once was would ever come back. I mourned the innocence of the 'before loss' me. I mourned the fearlessness, and the hope, with which I faced life before tragedy changed everything. I wanted to turn back the clock for so many reasons, including a return to the woman I was when Phil and I took whatever life threw at us side by side. I was brave then, bolstered by the fact that life was a shared event.

I have written many times about the phoenix that rises from the ashes of loss, but until writing for this post never really thought about the idea that this is a form of resurrection. Each time I got out of bed in those first months, that was a resurrection. For every battle won with the plumbing or the car or the challenges of only parenting, another resurrection took place. With every memory faced, empty bed entered, closet walked through, and hairbrush gently touched I claimed a small part of myself back, because I thought these daily joys from the past would kill me in my new future. But instead, with the dawning of each new day a tiny bit of sunlight made its way into my heart.

It is as if Phil's love planted a flower inside of my soul before he left me. I watered that little bud with countless tears, unaware that I was actually creating something new and beautiful within me. As I made my way in the world without him the rays of courage, resilience, determination, and hope each helped my inner flower to eventually bloom. With every reluctant step I took forward the person I was becoming rose into a new life. I didn't know that I was creating what would be; I thought I was only mourning what could no longer be. The thing I couldn't see is that these two seemingly incongruous tasks can be done simultaneously. You are doing them now.

Phil's love has become an amazing bouquet of experience that lights up my days. I never would have imagined that the word resurrection could apply to me.


  1. Thank you Michele, you give me hope. I often don't recognize myself, and worry that the fun-loving girl my husband loved is gone forever. At almost six months, a new hot water heater, living through income tax, etc., and just getting though each day, I can begin to see what you mean about "creating what would be."

  2. Good article. I'm coming up on 6 years and still trying to resurrect myself. I hope you have a blessed and Happy Easter.

  3. I had not even thought about the comparisions. I know that I am a different person, both postive and negative. I appreciate so much more than I did before, but I am not as hopeful as I use to be.Yet, I too realize that both persons still exist within me. I too feel like a part of who I am today is I know what my husband would have wanted and even told me to become after he was gone. Wanted me to move on and I am trying.

  4. I'm finding my mornings are more of a resuscitation than a resurrection. At 10 months it's more like gasping for breath than receiving a glorious new life.

    This morning I didn't anticipate how lonely I'd feel as I did some reading before leaving for church. I didn't know why it felt so different than any other Sunday morning. But apparently Easter is yet another difficult holiday.

    Being alone on the morning of holidays seems particularly difficult. It's a quiet time that Dave & I would learn to love as there was usually nothing to do but enjoy each others company for at least a few hours. Now it's just a quiet time. One of many.

    I do thank God for Christ's resurrection. It's the foundation on which we Christian's have life. And it's the reason why I believe I'll be with Dave again! The word 'forever' has a new meaning for me this week for some reason. I had never really contemplated it before. For some reason 'forever' hadn't really meant beyond this lifetime. But it's unending. Eternal. 'Forever' transcends this lifetime. I believe that love is 'forever'.

    I have found that grief exposes one's belief. What I say I believe, and what I actually believe is revealed. I'm forced to question my beliefs and values - which is actually a good thing I guess. It was very difficult the first few months but already I see I've grown. It doesn't lessen the loss really, just helps me find peace more often.

    For those of you who are believer's, if you haven't already come across this, I encourage you go to and search out a support group near you. (Includes Canada & the US.) It's a 13 week program and it's free. I'm just finishing up mine and it's one of the best things I've done for myself since Dave died.

    Sorry Michele. Didn't intend to hijack your post but if I can't profess my faith on Easter when can I?!

  5. It's been 9 weeks since I woke up to find my husband had unexpectedly died. All I could thing about today was wouldn't it be great if he would resurrect??...if I would suddenly wake up and find that this was just a bad nightmare?? I wasn't prepared for the difficulty of celebrating the first holiday without him. I'm hopeful that I'll survive as you did....but doubt keeps creeping in.

  6. What an amazing post.....I too have learned to find some joy in the fact that my husband is so much more a part of me now than ever before.