I have some wonderful friends, I spent yesterday with some of the best of them. People I love; people who love me. People who Ems loved; people who loved Ems. There is such comfort in being with these people and I have immense gratitude to them for all they've done for me, done for Ems, for who they are. It is with such people that I can honestly talk about how I'm doing. I can talk about Ems and get knowing nods and smiles. I can also cry.
I had spent the day enjoying their company and doing all I could to be myself (whatever that is right now). As the evening drew in & we sat struggling with Trivial Pursuits, I could feel the emptiness silently creeping around my heart. I knew that in an hour or two would come the journey home. The journey home alone. The journey to my parents, not our home. Another journey without Ems.
I did my best to fight the feeling, knowing full well the tears would come when I got home. Then of all the people that could set me off - I got upset by Carol Thatcher! Yes, as we talked over 'I'm a celebrity - jungle Kings & Queens', Carol Thatcher (Queen of the Jungle once upon a time) said something that I thought was devestatingly sad. As she'd celebrated winning, she told Ant & Dec (or Tom & Dec as my friend put it yesterday!): "I will never be this happy again."
How awful. Imagine enjoying a wonderful moment and at that very moment thinking it would be the last time you'd feel that good. It hit me, and as I attempted to share my reflections on this with my friends, the rivers gust forth unexpectedly and I sat and sobbed.
I can't imagine how such a feeling would tarnish the happy moments. Surely if you felt it was the last time you would feel that happy it would bring a tinge of sadness to what should be a solely happy moment?
True, looking back at some of the incredible moments I shared with Ems, I do wonder whether I will ever feel that happy again while on this earth. That is not a suprising thought to have. My lovely boy who brought me so much joy is no longer here. I can only imagine how much worse it would have been though, if in one of those incredible moments, I had thought that I might never feel that happy again. How that would have taken away from the happiness of the moment.
Our wedding day for example. Wow! Full of happy moments. Truly, the greatest day of our lives because the whole day was spent focusing on the amazing love God had given us to share. How much more awesome it was though because it also held the anticipation and excitement of all the days ahead that we would share together, all the happy moments to come. If either of us had for one second thought we would never feel that happy again it would have been a sorry start to our marriage. In reality, though we never spent another whole day in the company of friends, celebrating our love, we celebrated in our own way every day. Every day had happiness in it, even if just because we had each other. Never was any moment tainted by the feeling it could be the last time we'd feel that good. Part of the fullness is in knowing there is even more to come.
The last time I saw him* was not tainted by such a feeling. Not for one second did I consider it could be the last time I saw Ems or felt that joy from his company. Not for one moment did I think 'I will never feel this happy again'. Not for one moment would he have either. How sad it would have been if we had.
As I poured out my heart and tears on the sofa with my friends, friends Ems and I have hung out with numerous times over the last couple of years, friends I can hardly remember not knowing, I was well aware that things would never be the same again. I couldn't remember spontaneously bursting into tears in their company before yet was well aware it will likely happen many more times in the future. Yet though I can't imagine feeling that happy again right now, I thank God that never was a moment with Ems spoiled because I'd thought in that moment that 'I'll never be this happy again'.
And I thank God that Ems, his huge contagious smile bursting with joy, is in a continual unimaginable state of happiness right now, and that one day, I will join him, and I will be forever wonderfully, ecstatically, indescribably happy for eternity. Once more, because of this hope, I know that there'll be days ahead on this earth that aren't so bad either. I'm just taking it one moment at a time.
'That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.'
May we never ruin good times by thinking that they'll never be equalled, because between this world and the next, there is always always always more for the taking.
Memory #2 "the toast episode"
The last time I saw Ems was actually a really cute moment. His mum was round the house and I only had half an hour between getting in from work and leaving for a youthwork committee meeting. Ems and I were always pretty soft with each other & so even though we'd see each other when I got back (or so we thought) we still managed to grab a sweet 5 minutes with each other to ourselves. We messed around outside (even though it was freezing), cwtching (Welsh cuddles for those out of the know!) and teasing one another, full of "I love you"s and catching up on how one another's day had been. On going inside and me announcing I would have to go in 2 minutes, Ems was suddenly overwhelmed with concern that I hadn't eaten since lunch time and started to make me some toast. Despite reassurances from me that I would be eating at the meeting, he lovingly insisted. He made me 2 pieces which I turned down, explaining I'd be too full for dinner. He then tried forcing 1 1/2 pieces on me before we eventually agreed I'd take 1. He put it in some tupperware (he never did like cling film or kitchen foil!) and sat down to eat the other piece with some re-heated roast dinner. I thanked him, kissed him on the forehead, we exchanged some more "I love you"s, and I left. The toast tasted good and I text him to thank him, telling him I'd call him before leaving the meeting, and again reiterating that I loved him (told you we were soft!). His last words to me came by text 'Ok my lovely sweetheart, I love you'. I smiled, full of love, never once ruining the moment by fearing those words would be his last.]
I once travelled happily alone. Then the most beautiful thing happened and suddenly I was half of two; two became one. But before I could start to document our life together, his life was tragically gone. My darling Ems is now in the bright lights of Heaven and I remain. This is the story of my journey from here. Gratefully a journey that One whose ways are above all of ours takes with me. One day I'll reach those bright lights for myself but until I do, join me on my journey, keeping memories close.