When my wife of 24 years passed away, I felt there was a gaping hole in my life. I ached with loneliness and loss. But all that steadily turned around through my discovery of some transformative spiritual concepts. This began with a visit from a friend who had come to my wife’s funeral.
Some years before, this friend had raced motorcycles, and in one race, he’d crashed, ending up in a coma for a week. During that week while in the coma, he said there was definitely a time when he was aware that he was dying, although he said it felt more like leaving the world he had known and entering another. But there was this bright light that told him to go back. And he did. He awoke from the coma, gradually recovered, and was a better man, with a heightened desire to do good. He was not religious either before or after this experience, but he was a good man, an honest man, and after that experience he was not afraid of death because he knew he would continue on.
His story really helped me. It gave me comfort to realize that my wife was living and literally had moved on to another experience. It helped me more fully understand the many references to eternal life in the Bible and the apostle Paul’s words in the New Testament book of Romans (see Romans 8: 38, 39) saying that we are never separated from the love of God–that even death does not separate us from the love of God.
But at times there was still an almost overwhelming feeling of loss. I needed to go deeper.
My study of the Bible and the writings of Christian author Mary Baker Eddy had taught me that what was really substantial about any individual were the spiritual qualities he or she expressed–like patience, gentleness, kindness, happiness, intelligence. So I made a list of the qualities that I loved in my wife and endeavored to live them more in my life. This helped me feel closer to her and quieted to some extent the sense of loss.
But it helped even more to begin to recognize where those qualities originated. As I admitted that the qualities she expressed had their source in God, I became so grateful for her companionship while she was with me and how blessed our children had been by her life.
Next I began to see that because God was the source of the qualities I loved in my wife, those qualities also were with me now, although in different ways. Whenever I found myself longing for her presence, I prayed to know that God’s love was present and that I could know and feel that love.
I read in Eddy’s primary work: “… prayer is answered, in so far as we put our desires into practice.” It became clear to me that in order to feel God’s love, I had to strive to live that love better in my life. As I did, more of the aching and loneliness left me.
My prayers were having practical outcomes. My son volunteered to come live at home and attend the next semester at a college in our city. He and I were included in other families’ gatherings from time to time, and after he left again for college, more of this continued for me. My work offered me many opportunities to help others. And I began to pray for the many people in the world facing loss–that they too could know God’s love for them. I was moving past grief into a more unselfish sense of love. And God’s love for me was being shown in ways that comforted me.
Today, 15 years later, I can see that there was a divine presence gently caring for and guiding me. I see that this loving divine presence is with us all. It is with you, and will never leave you.
Originally published in on White Plains Patch, @