Void at the passing of a soul mate

My friend lost his soul mate about three months ago. I could sense the despair in his blog which I reproduce below [with his permission]. My [senseless?] comments follow his piece. The picture is of his departed soul mate due to pancreatic cancer. He was 19 and she 16 when they became one in marriage and agreed to travel together along life’s highway. Have a read and leave your comments.

Not Alluring

My friend’s departed soul mate whom I was fortunate to meet here in India before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer which eventually claimed her body.

I have cleaned everything that I can clean and organized everything that I can organize at the house. I have dispersed to useful ends everything of Bxxxie’s [name masked-TRD] that I can disperse. I have even straightened my woodshop. The laundry and dishes are perpetually done. There is nothing left for me to do in the house to occupy my idle moments.

Most of the time I sleep surprisingly well, while at other times I drop off asleep around 4 a.m. When not busy doing something that requires physical activity and a little reflection, I think about her. When on those lonely car rides to some distant speaking appointment many hours away, Bxxxie is on my mind. Yesterday, while reading an account of a fallen soldier’s last ride home, accompanied by a military escort and his closest family members, my grief over powered me like it had not since my Bxxxie died — 88 days ago.

I have no earthly aspirations left to me; life itself has no alluring enticement for me. One country song’s theme is that essentially life isn’t worth living without someone to love and to hold, and I heartily agree. Another country singer belts out the bliss of growing old together in adjoining rocking chairs on the porch while appreciating the sunset sky, but my companion’s rocker is empty.

When I buried Bxxxie, I buried all of my earthly dreams. No longer do I have a proverbial bucket list of places to go or of things to do. Life for me has no purpose worthy of joyful continuance. All that really matters and my peace on earth is gone from me. Bxxxie’s passing has sharpened the reality of life for me like nothing else before or likely anything will in the future. Her earthly remains lie silently beneath the shady grove in which I and others have secreted our dead from our tearful eyes.

I am hopelessly crushed by the loss of my best friend. I muse how can I endure, how can I go on. Time, I know, is the buffer between painful loss of today and the fortitude hoped for in the days, weeks, months or years to come. Yet, how do I get from now and here to then and there? The road seems impossibly difficult, even impassible.

A little while, not too long I hope, somewhat mechanically I go on and try my best to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. He and I may have a few things left for me to do, some service to perform or some person to acquaint with the precious Gospel. Then, it will be my turn to lie once more next to the mortal remains of the wife of my youth in the tree-shrouded meadow. Only then, will our spirits reunite, I pray in the bliss of eternity with the Godhead in that heavenly home.

In the meantime, without my compass, my dear wife, how will I chart the course? How can I possibly survive the lonely, sobbing moments between activities and in being the presence of others? As it is, I can scarcely retain my composure now even amidst tenderhearted brethren. How long will Christian friends sympathize with me before they tire of my sorrow?

If no one reads my splattering of words, maybe putting my feelings down itself is somehow therapeutic and helpful. I know already all of the things a counselor and comforter would say to the bereaved, as I have done many times myself as a Gospel minister over the decades. However, there is no grief as real and as severe as one’s own grief. There is no grief like the grief of one who is half dead from the inside out when his lifelong mate has perished; my better half is gone.

Yet, there is hope. There is hope in the hereafter based on sacred promises. For now, it seems but a glimmer, but there is hope. There is comfort in losing oneself in Christian service. There is also a fearlessness, too, to boldly push forward when life no longer presents itself as an enticing allurement. Your prayers are invited. May God lift my spirit and the sadness of all who grieve.

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My Response

So, that’s how one feels when one loses one’s soul mate. All my life I’ve yearned and prayed for a soul mate. Alas, to no avail. I can empathize with your emptiness. I can almost feel the void — yours by the departure of your “better” half and mine at never having one. Always seeking in hope but never having. Sigh…I’ll never know as you have known. Perhaps you should be happy that (even though it hurts), for a while you had someone to share life with. You have memories of a lifetime to live with. I have nothing but emptiness (loneliness) to contend with. Nothing to show for in life. No soul mate, no family, nothing. I’m not comparing. Your blog made me acutely aware of my empty life and how full yours has been. Be happy in that and thank God that He gave you someone to accompany you along your journey on life’s highway. How happy you must have been…You’ll never know how empty it is going through life alone… I am happy for you. [I’m not in a pity party!] However, I’ve accepted the fact that the LORD, in his wisdom and according to His will, did not given me a soul mate for reasons best known to Him. I accept and submit to His will. It’s my prayer that He’ll help you to accept His will and bear you up during the remainder of your sojourn here. May God bless you now and always.

I suppose having and then losing is harder to bear than not having at all. But not having at all is hope-shattering. It is not a question of not having at all but not having in your youth, at the beginning of life’s journey. That is difficult to handle during the sunset of one’s life. The void. The bitterness. Unanswered prayers. Shattered hope. Being deprived of lavishing the love one has on the “someone” one hopes and longs for. Then, during the sunset years, unconsciously scanning young faces, knowing that it is an exercise in futility. One has lost it [one’s youth]. It’d not be the same. How does one cope with this emptiness verging on despair? I keep praying, “Father, help me to remain faithful to you and keep closely clinging to you.” Maybe one day He’ll reveal to me as to why He never answered that prayer. I shall never know how it is to be united to someone and being one with her.

Thank you for sharing. I’ve just “heard” you pour out your heart. And I know that you are hurting. You look for her, hoping to see her. Scenes of laughter, maybe a smile, of togetherness flash by. But she isn’t there. Reality sets in. You are seemingly alone. I can’t even try to fix you, or do anything besides accept who you are and how you’re feeling, because you are who you are, insecurities and all. I can only, clumsily, comfort you by feeling your pain [which I truly do] and gently direct your gaze towards our Father and say, “Hold to God’s unchanging hand,” and hope that you find strength and cheer in that.

You are missing your loved one. Truly sorry for your loss. Her invisible presence must be palpable. Maybe you involuntarily call out to her. Oh! What an irreparable loss!

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