May 13th was the 20th anniersary of my late husband’s passing. Mike Runion’s death was the catalyst for my personal awakening and transformation. Below is the opening for a book I am in the process of writing about my own devastation and resurrection. I’d like for my wake-up call to be yours too, so you won’t have to go to the depths that I did.
The funeral was as unreal as everything that led up to it. I hadn’t been to a funeral since I was a kid, and I had never been the star of the show at one before. Everyone seemed so sorry for me, but I wasn’t feeling anything. I know I acted far too cheerful for a woman who had just lost her husband.
As I watched Mike’s casket being lowered into the ground, the Pastor’s wife tried to talk to me, but I ignored her. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hear her words. I just didn’t want anything to distract me in my last moments near all that remained of him.
I held David’s hand tightly to remind him I was still there. At five years old, I’m not sure how much he understood. I think he was trying to be strong for me, and I was trying to be strong for him. I wanted to stop time, but time went on unaware of my desire. David and I both looked back at the grave site as we walked away.
We flew home a few days later. Everything seemed supernaturally normal when I opened the door and our cats acted so happy to see us. I was grateful to them for keeping us from returning to an empty house. David delighted in being home and asked to go next door to play. All I wanted to do was to curl up under the covers, but something in the mail caught my attention. There was an envelope with a picture of a blue person on it… Krishna I think. The letter had to be from India, which meant the letter had to be from Mike. I studied the envelope and noticed that Mike had sent the letter almost two months before. My heart pounded as I opened it.
It was eerie to read Mike’s happy talk. It was my darkest hour, and his letter wrote of our sunny times ahead. My heart broke for him as I read the words that desperately clung to a future he had to believe would happen. My anger raged at him because his letter was as full of lies as he had been before he left. My guilt flamed over not having been able to break through his denial. Mike couldn’t face the dark reality. If he had, he might have survived it. If I had faced it sooner, he might have survived it. I hear the darkest hour is when the sun starts to dawn. It turned out Mike was right about the sunny days ahead, but he was very wrong to think we would enjoy it together. Standing there with Mike’s letter in hand, I didn’t know it was almost dawn for me. I just knew there were a hundred things I wish I had said to him while I still had the chance. I just knew something had gone horribly wrong, and I couldn’t change it. I just knew I didn’t ever want to find myself in that kind of darkness again.
I had been living in a land of make-believe. I didn’t want to see, but I knew I had to. I hit the wall and my eyes were being forced open. Not that I woke-up all at once in that moment. I was in too much shock to see what was right in front of me all at once.
If you’ve already had your wake-up call, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve already had your wake-up call, you’ve learned that the only way out is to walk straight through things you would rather avoid with an open heart and mind and honest communication. It may be too alarming to face it all at once – after all, that’s why you would rather avoid it. But if you don’t find the truth, it will find you.
If you haven’t had your wake-up call, I hope I can be your wake-up call. It’s a lot easier if you open your eyes and start telling the truth before you and the wall collide.
20 years is a lot of time. ” Coincidentally ” I was visiting in Sarasota on the anniversary of Mike’s passing. The amount of healing that has taken place is phenomenal. It was nice to visit our old stomping grounds with a heart that is both peaceful and grateful. We can’t control life, but we sure can learn from our experiences. And we can learn from each other’s experiences. I hope mine is useful to you.