I can't imagine how Vaness Bryant felt and is feeling today. Well, actually, I can. While it's been eight years since the death of my husband, it's been 29 days for her and yet she managed to speak in front of thousands in person and to millions online and on TV. She shared in pain a piece of herself in front of family, friends, and strangers as she recalled the fond memories of her dearly beloved Kobe and Gigi. She 'did' that today and she managed well. She got through it
Today is also the anniversary of my husband’s death. During his (two) funerals, I did not speak but instead, I listened. I listened to the many individuals who stood at the podium delivering amazing testimonies, stories about him and even giving their lives to Christ. It was comforting for me to witness.
I didn’t dare manage to bring myself to speak in front of family, friends or strangers. Why? Because I didn’t want to; I still needed healing and I didn’t trust myself to not break down.
I had to INTERNALIZE strength - for myself.
I had to APPEAR strong for my children and extended family. I definitely had to ACT strongly in front of my church family. Not sure if I passed the test at the second funeral because I went into shock and the “church mothers” came to my side encouraging me to “be strong”.
So, is there a requirement for widows to speak at the funeral of their spouses? If so, is it because we HAVE to show the attendees that “we’re good”? Are the mourners unknowingly creating an atmosphere demanding strength from us? Whether or not it’s true, the fact of the matter is that you must LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Not all of us will be able to put your anxiety at ease during the memorial or Celebration of Life service so please don’t expect it.
If we chose to sit it out, respect it.
If we decide to take that “stand”, respect that too.
But the TRUTH is, it won’t bring him back.
And the FACT of the matter is, we still have to return home to sleep on THAT side of the bed.