Coping with the death of a spouse seems impossible while you’re in it. This is the true and tragic love story of Pamela Burrus who lost her husband of 20 years in 2009 when he was hit by a car in a pedestrian crossing on his way home from work. Losing a loved one, if we live long enough, is something that most of us will face, but it’s something that we are rarely ready for.
One of the things that I loved about meeting Pamela was hearing her tell the incredible love story that she experienced with her husband. She tells us the details of their beautiful love and the family they shared.
Eight months before he was killed, she was in meditation and she saw a visual image of him being killed. It was so intense, that she physically got up and ran away from the vision, but steps later collapsed from the shock. Later when he came home, she told him of her vision to which he lovingly said, “I told you I’m going to live forever.”
Pamela recalls the last time she saw him alive and said goodbye. “The night he was killed, he called me one last time. He rang 11 times which he would never do.” He explained his urgency to her, “I just wanted to tell you I love you one more time before I get on the plane.”
Hours later, “I got a phone call and it was him and I answered, and then the phone went to a white-out sound. I knew nothing and I knew everything in that moment. And I felt physically ill. I was feeling the strangest feeling. I was feeling that I needed to throw up.”
Pamela describes the grief cycle and what she went through during the wake of her husband, “The grief cycle almost stands side-by-side with the birth cycle.” Pamela did not feel prepared or capable of handling life without him. She talks about the journey and the options one has during the grieving process.
“I’m a big believer in, ‘Nothing is but thinking makes it so,’ and the tape that was playing continually in my mind was, “No, no, no. I can’t do this.” Pamela talks about the feeling of hopelessness until she had a spiritual turning point. She realized she had to stop thinking she couldn’t go on and give thanks instead.
Acceptance was a key piece of Pamela’s healing. Often people want their life the way it was, but she had to come to terms with the fact that her future would never be like her past. She advises, “We stay with what was and then we suffer even more. Acceptance is huge. And then really being authentic with their grief.”
“I still practice and hold our anniversary and our special day as sacred,” Pamela tells us.
She shares what really helped or would’ve helped her when the accident happened. She says, “People are afraid to talk to you about it and at that time you need more than ever to get to talk about it. They’re afraid that this is so big and so awful that if they speak their name to you, you are going to fall apart and they won’t know what to do. So they cover and placate and avoid.”
For anyone out there who is going through the loss of a loved one or maybe it’s been some time, I hope that this has really provided some healing for you. And that you think about the fact that there is a grief cycle and it does take time and you need to get to a place of accepting that and understanding your own grief cycle.
Follow Pamela Burrus on Twitter @SaferPassages
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