My husband is dead!

My husband isn’t here anymore!

I don’t have a partner anymore!

I reach over to his side of the bed and it’s cold and empty.

Look around…..I’m looking….the coffee cup is still sitting on the shelf.

I look some more and the newspaper is still on the lawn…

It’s awful quiet in here! Something is seriously wrong.

Death has invaded the entire space of my existence….

Now just one minute!

No, I’m in the middle of a dream… “still foggy from sleep?”

I touch my pink cotton robe and I’m here…I’m awake. I’m still here.

But, but, but I’m here alone. I feel so – so … empty….so – numb..

I touch my arm…it’s me…..I touch my face….it’s me….I walk a step

forward … I’m here and I’m alive…

But, but, but I’m here by myself. It’s awfully quiet. I don’t hear any

traffic on the road….I don’t hear the TV…what is it that it’s so very

“Quiet?” I don’t even hear the motor from the refrigerator.

I feel calm, or am I frozen?

But, but, but I can’t be frozen it’s 90 some degrees outside.

Oh my dear Lord! Ed is gone. Gone forever!

What to do, how to feel, how to move, how to to to act?

What’s next? Who to talk to? What to say? Where to go?

I’m transfixed on emptiness…there’s a void of existence….

I can’t seem to function or think or feel.

Did everything die around me too? Is the grass still green? Are the

flowers still in the ground? Are the birds still flying? Is the sun shinning?

Has the world stopped turning?

What do I do first?

Okay! I’ll sit still and calm down and try and focus.

Now, what chair do I sit in? Ed used to like that one…I better sit where

I always did. Okay! Now, focus on a thought….my head keeps slowly

moving up and down…ever so slowly…am I having a stroke? I still feel

lack lustered… so distant from reality.

Let’s try again. Relax, breathe softly, take another breath in and blow

it out! Again! Now re-focus and think of a beautiful day on the beach

and feel the waves ripple and then hear the splash…and hear the water

move softly … and think of how refreshing it is to be there in the sun

on such a lovely day.

Great! I can do that…it feels good inside…it feels cozy and warm inside.

You shimmer and shake and cry and whimper like a puppy … you don’t

know who you are and what you have become.

Well, my dear. I  have to face this. But how?.

The feelings and thoughts that come to your head aren’t anything like they used to be. I can tell you who I am and where I live, but for some reason everything else left me. I can’t seem to reason with myself or think realistically.

One day falls into another and then a week goes by. Then all the phone calls and sympathy notes and flowers keep coming with no sensitivity for the compassion and sympathy those felt when they sent them. What’s wrong with me?

You think.. You may be in the storm that is raging but don’t let the storm get inside you…trust.. our Lord will give you peace.

Praying doesn’t seem to be enough. I begged and begged to be heard. I really wasn’t sure even if our Lord was listening to me at times.

The emotions are ruined inside. They run rampant … like I’m on fire and then cold then nauseous…then uncertain if and when I’ll ever be who I was or even be able to function again.

I seriously doubt that I will ever be who I was when I was with my husband of forty-one years. But I learned that when our Lord took my husband Ed to be with Him in heaven, our Lord wasn’t punishing me….and He wouldn’t abandon me. What I had to learn was prayer and continuous prayer and relying on His word would get me through this. The difficulty was the waiting for …what a miracle?

No, it didn’t work like that. Each day I would say the same prayer: Where are you taking me today Lord?” I must have prayed that prayer a thousand times over the years. As time went on, and as I continued to work, I started to believe in the prayers I was praying. Slowly, things started to come together.

Keeping active and having new unexpected challenges to go forward with was an intense learning skill …you can do it…you can get through today…you can face tomorrow with a smile and you can even get to work and get through an entire day and then a week and then you have those awful setbacks…and then life takes on a new color and a new wave of light to shine on the path to a new journey.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

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Rosalie Siciliano

Rosalie Czulewicz married Edward Stolinski Jr. in 1961. During their forty-one years of marriage, they raised three children, who gave them eight grandchildren. Edward died unexpectedly in August 2001. Rosalie currently owns and manages Interiors by Rosalie, an interior design firm with both residential and commercial clients along the East Coast. She lives in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, with her husband of five years, Tom, the “knight” who swept her off her feet in 2004. They enjoy celebrating their love and life together through traveling. Together, they have helped each other through the darkness of grief and onward to the light of hope Both the spontaneous writing of her poetry and the deliberate molding of her book, "Stormy Waters: From the Darkness of Grief to the Light of Hope," contributed to Rosalie’s healing process. She hopes that her faithfilled journey through grief to hope will inspire others no matter where they are, in the midst of stormy waters.

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