After your memorial service, numerous people reached out to me and said I was so brave and strong for speaking so eloquently at your service--especially shortly after a traumatic experience. They said they could feel my pain but also the immense love we had for each other. I’ve been thinking about their words for some time now, and I wonder myself, “Where did I find the strength to speak at your service and not breakdown?” I did mentally prepared myself for weeks and read the speech over and over again to practice. But, in all honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could really get through it since I broke down every time I practiced. But, I was determined to honor the promise I made to you at the hospital.
I was hugging you and crying hysterically when I saw your lifeless body on the hospital bed. I kept begging you to wake up so we could go home, but you wouldn’t. I was so devastated that I just wanted to hold your hand and lay down next to you. I couldn’t stop crying or hugging and kissing you, but then I felt your presence and I said, “Sean’s here!” And I knew how much it would break your heart to see me like that, so I stopped crying, gave you one last hug and kiss and I told you, “I promise to be strong,” and I walked out of the hospital room. That was the last time I will ever see you again. You don’t know how much I miss you. How desperately I want to see you one more time. To hear your voice and laughter. To see your smile and hear you say, “I love you too.” But everyday I wake up, I tell myself to be strong since that’s what I promised you.
You know the painting of the lotus flower in my craft room--I don’t know if I ever told you the meaning behind that painting, but it’s one of the 8 auspicious symbols in Buddhism (I learned about this when I was studying abroad in Singapore). The lotus flower is a symbol of strength, beauty, and enlightenment that can only be achieved by overcoming adversity. Since the lotus flower can only grow and bloom from mud and murky water, the mud and murk represents the pain and suffering all humans endure in life. If they can overcome the pain and suffering, they will find the strength and enlightenment they need to breakthrough the mud and murk to bloom into a beautiful lotus flower. I thought this was such a beautiful symbolism that when I saw the painting of the lotus flower (yes, this was when I was in college--of course I studied babe, I didn’t just go around shopping for artwork--even though that’s what it seems like), I bought it and carried it with me ever since.
So, back to being brave and strong--I don’t know where I found the strength or courage; it must be something deep inside of me that I didn’t even know existed or was capable of. But, I also know that the strength and courage that resides deep inside of me is a direct result of watching and learning from you all these years.
I hope one day to find the strength and enlightenment I need to rise above the mud and murk to bloom into the beautiful lotus flower. I know that the road ahead of me will be long and hard, but with your strength to carry me through, I know I will make it and keep the promise I made to you at the hospital.
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.