I remember in the beginning posting on the widow board, trying to encourage some of the other miserable sounding widows further down the line than I was, “they would want us to be happy.” I was still in shock then.
Now, people still use that line on me sometimes. But although I know my husband loved me and would never want me to feel this kind of pain and sorrow, he also never experienced a tragedy like I now have. Therefore, I think it’s naive to pretend I know how he would feel or what he would tell me to do. I do know that he would feel tremendous sorrow if he knew the devastation introduced to our lives. I imagine he would be crying, like I do nightly- his faith and worldview, shaken to the core, as is mine. I do not see him telling me to “be happy.” Of course all of this is the Dan I knew here on earth, and if there is an afterlife that he now has knowledge of, I can’t really know what that Dan would say because he would be a Dan I have not known. He would have knowledge and completeness I do not.
“Be happy.” Those are not the two words I hear him telling me anymore. If happiness was the meaning of life, I’d be in big trouble. And so would a lot of other people. But to acknowledge that in a world of suffering, the meaning must somehow be built into the suffering – not away from it- helps.
So, what I have decided on, what I can hear him saying to me, for some reason- in both Korean and English- are two very different words: