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.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sing Sing Sing

GarethJonesPhotography 2009

I wanted to share a breakthrough with you.

Thursday morning, for the first time since my lovely Ems passed away, I truly sung.

I don't have a beautiful or gifted voice but I've always been a singer. I used to sing my heart out in the car, the shower, all around the house, I sung.

Ems had a real talent for singing and for all things musical. He sung and played in church - leading, following, solo, or group; he'd played at youth events to hundreds; he'd belted out a number of his own songs by himself (Shipping Forecast) or with various bands (Haybarns on Fire, Rayburn & the Radiators, Venturi Channel, Teeny Bopping Commanders, to name a few - help me with any I've missed guys!); he'd belted out covers with Meica & the Mechanics (with colleagues) and Seren Gwib; he was the music man. Yet when it came to the car or the shower or the house, he sung far less than I did.

Don't get me wrong, he'd sing at times*. He'd come in to the room and ask me what the next line of a song was, or how something went. In my bird like tones (some people have likened them to a crow), I would sing the next line or the rhythm. He'd also sing and play in preparation for the next church service, event, gig. When he sung, it sounded good. When he sung, it was because the lyrics were screaming at him and he just couldn't help but join in. I could never out sing him in quality, but I usually did in quantity.

I'd ask him if my singing got on his nerves but it didn't. I'm sure at times I ruined the odd 'classic' for him as I sung my heart out, but he'd usually just smile over at me. He knew I was singing because I was happy and free and relaxed and he loved that. Those times when he did join in, he'd harmonise brilliantly and it would make the singing all the more pleasurable for me.

When Ems died, I didn't feel like singing.

At his funeral though, I sung my heart out. I remember before his funeral saying that I didn't know if I'd feel like standing or sitting, whether I'd be able to sing or not. But as the music started that day, I knew I wanted to stand, proud that I was his wife, and sing loudly, so thankful that God had brought him into my life and blessed us in the amazing ways He had.

Since then, I have sung at church services. I've meant what I've sung. But I haven't truly sung. I haven't wandered around the house, my heart lost in a song. You know those moments when you're singing your heart out because there's something in you that has to get out?

Until yesterday. Yesterday, for a moment, as I dried my hair, I could hear my singing, even about the noise of the dryer.

I was singing.

It wasn't forced. It wasn't planned. It was my heart overflowing.

I had spent the last 7 weeks looking forward to Heaven solely because it would mean an end to all this pain. I can honestly say that yesterday I was singing, not just because I know I won't have any pain when I get there, but because heaven itself is beyond anything I can see, hear or imagine. And despite the darkness that surrounds me right now, there is hope. Hope, because Ems and I shared the same faith, that he is there now, and one day I'll join him and it will be amazing [understatement of the largest scale].

The dark moments will still come. I've cried since then. I'll cry again. There'll be times when I don't feel like singing, but I'm not going to lose my voice entirely. I'm going to remember Ems when he'd come to church feeling low but sing his heart out in spite of it all, grateful for grace. I won't sing because I'm forced to or because it's what everyone's doing. I'll sing because my heart does.

For all those who have lost loved ones suddenly and tragically in Haiti - my heart goes out to you.

[*Memory #4 The "Early morning sing song" episode
Ems suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder and one of the symptoms was a cruel disturbance of his sleep. As such, getting out of the bed in the morning could be even more of a struggle than it is for most of us because of the bad night that had gone before. One night when setting his alarm, Ems decided he was going to try and get up at 6am and read the bible for a little while in front of his light box before getting up to face the world.
At 6am Ems jumped out of bed enthusiasically. I was so happy to hear him get up so easily, there was no way I was going to get cross at him for waking me in the process. He left the bedroom, I assumed to go and read elsewhere, and I buried back down into the duvet to snooze for another hour.
A toilet flush and a couple of minutes later, and the door banged open and Ems noisily returned to the bedroom, switched on his light box, and parked his skinny but lovely posterior at the bottom of the bed. I realised that meant he was going to read and do his light therapy in the bedroom, but I was still grateful that he was up and ok so I didn't mind too much. I just buried a bit deeper into the duvet and attempted to snooze.
Then, he started to read. He read out loud! I'd forgotten that little quirk of his. He'd often read out loud to help him concentrate and this was one of those times. I just lay still and smiled at another of his eccentricities.
Just as I started thinking that reading out loud probably wouldn't prevent me snoozing because he was doing so quietly, he spontaneously burst into song!
He started to sing. I buried deep, but when he couldn't remember some of the lines to the old hymn he'd pitched up, I could almost feel him looking at me through the duvet, waiting for me to help him with the lines. I didn't first time around, trying to kid myself I'd still fall back to sleep, and he filled the gaps with 'la las' and 'mmm mmms'. But when he reached that part for the second time, I couldn't help but sing my heart out with him, filling in the lyrics he didn't know, and smile, because not only was he out of bed and ready to face the day, but his heart was overflowing with a song, and so was mine.
What's an extra 45 minutes in bed when you can sing with the one you love instead?

By the way, the above photo, that's us, our hearts overflowing with song on our wedding day.]

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