By Paula Walker
We could hardly wait.
But God had a different plan and after just 24,865 days on this earth, almost two thirds of them with me, Dale was called to take his final journey to his Heavenly home. And I; I started a journey through grief that I would have given anything not to be taking.
Was it a need to be with the friends and family who always join us and in whose large noisy circle, I would find the love and support to keep on going ? Likely.
Was it the knowledge that I was safe to laugh with these people and to remember all the humourous things my ridiculously funny husband had done on other such holidays? Probably.
Singing old hymns was impossible for me but I loved to sit and cry through them.
I needed to be bathed in their familiar, comforting words. To hear in my mind, Dale's very true bass voice singing the harmony. To listen to the gentle sounds of our oldest son playing his guitar and to watch our grandson thumping away on his jam bay drum. ( Did I mention that the airline compassionately gave me two tickets for Dale's cancelled one, so that both the 'boys' could be with me for those two weeks )?
But I missed Dale with every particle of my being and I believe that out there on my pilgrimage through Baca on an island of red mud, God made it a place of beginning the long process of healing. It became not just a magical place but a miracle place of refreshing springs given to me through signs and wonders. And each person in their own unique way helped me in the process.
Let me explain.
She had no idea how very much I needed to hear those words.
And on our final evening after a day of heavy autumn rains, as my son and I walked our beach, a beach now covered with muddy puddles, the sky came alive. First, with rays of gorgeous sunshine and then with a brilliant, full rainbow that just lingered over us as we walked.
For us, it was both a promise that God's grace would be sufficient for our journey and also a blessing on our time together in that place. A time so bittersweet that we could scarcely even talk about what we had gone through just four weeks earlier, when together we had found Dale. His body, lifeless on the bathroom floor. His spirit, already soaring with the angels into God's presence.
We didn't need to say words. It was enough to be making our 'Baca pilgrimage' in that place of peace, a place of healing springs, of autumn rains and of muddy pools ! Psalm 84
Today, almost two years later, I am so very grateful for the visual reminders I have been given. For there are still many days when it seems overwhelming still to be without him but God graciously gave me, in those first days, reminders of His love. Reminders that I can look at, handle and even wear !
(In the first photo above are my brother, cousin and nephew, and my son on guitar !)