...the astonishing or unfortunate thing is that these deprivations bring us the cure at the same time that they give rise to pain. Once we have accepted the fact of loss, we understand that the loved one obstructed a whole corner of the possible, pure now as a sky washed by rain.... Free, we seek anew, enriched by pain. And the perpetual impulse forward always falls back again to gather new strength. The fall is brutal, but we set out again.
This is another quote from Martha Whitmore Hickman's Healing after Loss which I have been reading one day at a time since a friend gave it to me at the cemetery where our husbands are buried not far apart. I was conscious of this truth described by Camus last Lent when friends from our lives in New Jersey drove down from LA where they had been visiting their daughter and took my son and me out to dinner. The husband had been in law school with my husband, and I believe taught my husband how to study so that he did well, made Law Review, and received a good job offer right out of law school. Robert, his friend, went on to become a partner in his law firm and had recently retired. We had a wonderful dinner, both of them included my son in the conversation, and when I got home I realized that if my husband had still been alive, he would have dominated the discussions, they would have most likely centered on politics and law, and I would have been much more on the outside. I was used to that, and I loved hearing my husband talk and that is one of the things I miss the most with him gone. But instead, the evening was a reminder of how kind and thoughtful both the husband and wife are and always have been. I felt as if I had been wrapped up and comforted during the entire evening, and when they left, I knew I had been uplifted by two very special people.
The reflection on Camus' thoughts ends with Hickman saying, "My life is entering a new chapter." That echoes what my dear husband told me when he said that if he didn't make it, I would have a Chapter Two and that I needed to discern where God is calling me in the next part of my life. There are many paths that beckon, and I am praying that I follow where God leads.