It’s hard to believe that I was actually told that the Church was closed. One would think that it was never closed, but the doors open to all those who need to feel closer to God.
After the sharpness and tone of the Priest wore off, I eventually became upset over the treatment that he had given me. Is that how it’s going to be? I am going to be pushed away because we consciously made the decision to not marry in the Church? That was our choice, but I was still a Child of God and very much Catholic. I never gave up on God or my faith. I was just being selfish.
On the way over to my brothers home, I talked to my parents and inquired if they thought my brother’s family Priest would take the time to meet with me and pray. To help me understand why. The call was made by my brother and sister-in-law and without hesitation, Father Bill agreed to meet with me the next day. I spent the rest of the evening self-secluded in my brothers guest room, still in a state of shock. At one point, my dad came in to bring me a cup of soup and some crackers. My precious three-year old niece, who is just attached to her Grandpa, came in with him. She sat on the bed and I did my best to not cry in front of her. She knew that Aunt Lexie was sad, but not why. Once I offered her my crackers, that she had been eyeballing, she was all smiles. Seeing her precious smile always makes me smile.
That first night was hard. Knowing that my soul mate was never coming back to me, to sleep next to me, to kiss me goodnight, to hold me took its toll on me. My mom slept with me to keep watch over me. I the night crying and staring at his Facebook profile picture. I was, and still am, afraid that I will forget what he looks like.
I met, along with my brother, sister-in-law, mom and dad with Father Bill the next morning. Meeting with him made me feel better about my faith. The actions of the other Priest led me to be up front and forthcoming with Father Bill. I explained that as a couple that married late in life, both not of the same faith, that we married outside the church. And that I had strayed from the Church, but only out of selfishness. He asked me this one question and I can still hear him asking me it. He asked “During that time, was God ever out of your heart?” I said no, He never was, He was always there. His response to me, was that it did not matter, as long as I had God in my heart, God was with me and He understood. Just hearing that uplifted my heart and restored my faith. Our meeting went on for an hour and it was so very helpful. I have never been more grateful and owe so much to Father Bill.
My In-laws came in the next afternoon once they could get away and we were able to spend some time together to sit and visit and reminisce. I adore them; they are wonderful people. When I first met them, they welcomed me with open arms and made me feel at home. To this day, that still remains.
Planning the funeral was very hard for me to handle. Corey’s best friend Greg is a Funeral Director and there was no doubt in my, or any others mind, that he and his company would handle the arrangements. Greg drove over three hours to meet with us and help us plan the memorial. He was nothing but professional and made it easy for me. It was Corey’s wishes to be cremated and both Greg and I knew that was what he wanted. Once we, the entire family, made the necessary arrangements, Greg and I sat together to sign the required paperwork. After the signing, we sat and talked. With tears in my eyes, I asked if he was going to be leaving to go and get him, and he said yes that he was. As I had previously mentioned, I had not had the opportunity to go back into the bedroom to kiss him goodbye or tell him that I loved him more than life. That was something very hard for me to deal with. I had at one point on Monday to tell Greg that I wanted to go to the ME’s office to just be able to give him one last kiss. Both he and my brother told me that would not be good as he would not be the same. Mainly because of the autopsy. I reluctantly accepted that would not happen. As we sat there, I grabbed Greg’s hand, and between the sobs asked that if he would, to please touch his cheek and tell him that I love him and I miss him terribly. I looked into Greg’s eyes to see tears coming down his face and to hear him say that he would. And that he had the next three hours with his best friend to talk to him and to let him know. I don’t know how Greg did it, but I can only imagine how hard that was for him.
The next obstacle that had to be overcome was finding a place to have the memorial service. Corey had a lot of friends and co-workers that I knew would want to pay respects to him. It was a shock to all of them and I knew that they would want to be there for me as well. After many phone calls and waiting on return calls, we finally called Father Bill. I was worried that because Corey was not Catholic, he would not allow us to have the service at the Church. Once my sister-in-law reached him, he heartedly agreed and even presided over the service. It was a blessing to be able to remember Corey in such a beautiful place and to have such a wonder man of God preside over the service.
…..to be continued……