This is version two of this week’s blog post. Normally, I would have published it by now, but wasn’t happy with the way my earlier one came out. Then I saw a vignette on a friend’s Facebook page and it made me think about some things I had not thought about for a while.
The post was written from a woman’s perspective. It was about her thankfulness for the man in her life who she believed God had put there to wipe away all her earthly tears.
It made me think of the time before Suzanne died, as we lay chatting in our bed one afternoon, and she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said, “I’m scared.”
I don’t remember the exact words I uttered, but I do remember choosing to kiss away her tears and hold her tightly. In that moment, nothing mattered more to me than to comfort her as best I could. And I did that many times throughout the years—far too many to remember.
This post I read was about how much faith this woman had that God will eternally be there to wipe away our tears, but here on earth she had her man to do that for her.
It strikes me that in many ways, she has written that from a privileged point of view (yes, “privilege” is a hot button topic). What I mean is, she is in a position of privilege to still have that man by her side.
How many widows and widowers would give everything they own and will ever have to just have their person back? I know I would. But I can’t.
There is no one here that I would want more than Suzanne to wipe away my tears. But the tears I cry are for her, so I am not in a privileged position to write about how I am grateful to have someone who wipes away my tears here on earth.
The times of joy, happiness, banality, routine, financial trouble, despair about health, all shaped us as a couple and as individuals. The laughter, the tears, the fun, the work, the struggles, the shouting, the arguments, all shaped us as a family—as individuals, as a couple, as parents, and now as a widower and the living descendants of the deceased.
My beliefs are less kindly and less privileged than the person who wrote that Facebook post. Yes, a number of years ago, I may have been inclined to make such glowing and positive comments and posts about my life and my wife. But now?
Who is here to wipe away my tears? Yes, I have a new partner, and so far, my experience of having her wipe away my tears has been wonderful. She understands and relates to me and to my grief, so when I cry about Suzanne, she doesn’t fear it or feel jealous. We both understand a great deal about each other’s grief and needs, so we can literally “wipe away tears” from each other’s faces.
But what about our soul tears? Can anyone ever truly wipe away the tears we are both crying at our soul level? Who can truly wipe away the tears we cry for the people we lost—the ones who wiped away our tears first? You can choose whatever you may wish to believe, but I know I’m stuck with those tears. They are the grief burden I bear for loving someone so fiercely and for having that person die yet still have my love.
In future, maybe my tears will be wiped away by god or by my own death—when I no longer have any more tears to shed. But who will shed tears for me? I’m sure my daughters will. Maybe my brothers will still live and cry, too. Perhaps even my new partner will still be living. Will she shed the same tears for me that she shed after her first husband died? Will it be me that sheds tears for her?
These thoughts are all about what I have gone through since Suzanne died. If you’re divorced, you may not understand it as deeply as when your person dies, but I imagine it’s not too dissimilar to feel this way. Will you ever find some peace? Will we ever find someone to wipe away all the soul level tears? Maybe faith is what we need. Or maybe we need to trust that everyone has those tears, and we must all bear the burden sometimes.