“How do I get through this, Father? How do I go on?”
Father Landover thought about Alex.
He was such a larger than life character. It made sense for her to turn to him when I left for the seminary. He patched up her heart. He saved her life. He made her see that I was not the only man out there. He made her feel loved.
He loved her.
And now he’s gone.
“Turn to God. Pray for God’s help. Pray for God to have mercy on Alex’s soul.”
“I know that, but…” She held out her hands to him. “What am I supposed to do? It hurts so much. I hurt. The house is so quiet and so empty and he isn’t there. He will never be with me again and I don’t know what to do.”
Father Landover looked at the woman before him. The woman he once loved.
God, what do I say to her? What can I say? What words are there? What can I say that won’t sound like empty platitudes that she can get from any $14.99 self help book? Help me, Lord. Guide me.
He took her hands and held them. “He is gone and that hole will always be there, especially since his death was so far out of your control. He is gone without Last Rites, without a final goodbye, and without a funeral. It will hurt. You’ll feel guilt that you weren’t there, that you didn’t say goodbye, that you forgot to kiss him one last time, that…so many thats.”
God, help me say this right.
“Veery, grieve for what you have lost. Don’t try to push the pain away. Don’t try to hold back the tears. Let them come. Let them fall. Don’t feel like you have to be brave and stoic. He was a wonderful man. He is worth every tear.”
Veronica walked over to the wooden chair to the left of the front door. She sat and doubled over.
He came over to her. “But don’t give in to despair. Think of him. Remember his love for you. Ask yourself what would he want you to do. How would he want you to live your life. In time, let your heart heal. Don’t force it, but don’t resist it. If that means finding someone else to love, so be it. Don’t think that it’s a betrayal of your wedding vows or of the love you shared with Alex.”
She shook her head. “I can’t imagine being with anyone else. I can’t imagine being in love with someone who is not Alex.”
In another world, another lifetime, I would have stepped forward and offered myself. But that time no longer exists. That world is changed by the vows I took.
I have changed. I have seen so much and heard so much.
The man who loved her and could be loved by her is gone. He no longer exists.
But if I woke up tomorrow morning with the chance to accept her over God’s call, I would still accept God’s call. Despite the pain and grief that I have known in this life, I feel peace. I have no regrets.
Father Landover went down on one knee. “Veronica, if God sends you someone else to love, don’t be afraid. As long as there aren’t any impediments, accept it. Embrace love again.”