A Denial

Written in memory of my first husband’s passing nineteen years ago, I share my observations of the courage it takes to look ahead in the shadow of illness.

A week after John died, my beloved niece was getting married.  Of course the timing was rough and my not attending would have been an option.  But a voice, perhaps his, kept whispering in my ear. “Go,” was what I heard — and I listened.

My very wise husband, early that spring, even before he got sick, told our niece that her request of his reading at her wedding probably would not be a good idea.  I remember feeling sad and also surprised when he uttered those words.  They were walking arm and arm in front of me as we strolled to a restaurant in Florida. I could see her little shoulders fall upon receiving this answer.

Months later — a week after his funeral with all of us still in shock — she called, marveling at “Uncle Johnny’s wisdom.”  My head wagged and my broken heart skipped a few beats, but her answer was now affirmed. He would not be at her wedding… but I would.

My sister lovingly did that reading and I believe her voice was also John’s.  She was the next best thing to him and the perfect choice in the absence of her beloved brother-in-law. I still think about this poignant story and looking back, feel that his unselfishness and choice were almost a premonition!

This leads me to ponder the universal question: “Do our loved ones look into the future differently than we do?”  Think about it!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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