Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Widow's Walk: Lion's Roar

I feel that after three years, I'm emerging from the depths of grief. To me grieving has always reminded me of the waves of the ocean - sometimes gentle and not overwhelming, sometimes a little choppy, or rough and turbulent, and then sometimes like the surge of a hurricane. And there is no weather report - you never quite know what to expect. 

Mostly, I think the hurricane waters have passed. I still miss him. I know I always will. And I value the short time we had together. I learned so much about life, relationships, loving, and living. I had the opportunity to watch a man, who was a believer, but with his diagnosis - he became fully engaged - in me, his family, his friends, the time he had left, and most of all with God. He spent hours praying, studying, and seeking. He sought counsel from wise men.

And yet he always stopped to savor the moments. Dinner wasn't just a meal, he tasted every bite. It didn't matter if it was a hamburger or a steak - he enjoyed it. 

When we went to the beach, my brothers asked him to play volleyball. They were being nice and taking it easy on him until he began diving for the ball and taking over the court. Just the month before, he could barely hold his head up, two months before that the doctors had given him ten days to live and he was running around on the sand playing volleyball, and a good game at that.

Afterwards he sat in his chair, basking in all the compliments of his prowess on the court. Only I knew that he had to take two pain pills and how much the walk back to the house hurt him. But for him, the discomfort was minor compared to that moment on the court when he spiked the ball and won the game.

Randy Paush said, "Even a wounded lion needs to roar." And Mike roared that day. Later as the cancer ravaged his body, that volleyball game was one of the memories he clung to. He loved to tell that story and laugh. My brothers still tell that story. Of course they've added to it by saying. "Here we were carrying his chair down to the beach because he just finished chemo and there he is flying around the court, diving, spiking, and beating us."

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