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Standing Where My Husband Died

Standing Where My Husband Died | After the Heartbreak
Standing Where My Husband Died

I stood in the middle of a vast expanse of nothingness, with a midday sun blazing down and dust eddying lazily around my feet. The blindingly blue sky stretched from horizon to horizon. I felt small and insignificant….and very, very sad, because this is where my husband died.

Read: The Day My Heart Broke

I was standing on the landing field at the Darling Downs Gliding Club. Five weeks ago right on this spot my husband Norbert had enthusiastically climbed into a glider for the second day of his week long course, not knowing that in a short time his broken body would be dragged from the wreckage.

I took a deep breath, fighting back the tears while I made my way back to where my daughter and step-son were waiting patiently for me to ‘do what I needed to do’. Did I need to do this to myself so soon afterwards? Yes….because this was where Norbert took his last breath, and I needed to feel close to him.

There were so many questions in my mind, and I had a powerful need to know all the details….every tiny fact, raw and truthful. I said goodbye to Norbert before he set off to take the course, and the next time I saw him he was lying in a coffin…cold and still.

I needed to put all the puzzle pieces together and recreate those couple of days. I needed to know how he went from being my warm and familiar husband….to that still, frozen body I touched gingerly in the coffin I had chosen for him.

Read: Should you view your loved one in a coffin?

How did the gliding course work? How many other students? How did the training work? Where did he sleep? What does a training glider look like? What happened immediately after the crash? What did he look like when he was pulled out? Who pulled him out? Was he already dead? How quickly did an ambulance get to him?

The questions went around and around in my head and I needed to know every detail. I think it was so incredibly important for me to fill in all the gaps of the time I wasn’t with him, and somehow it made me feel better. I’m sure it’s not the same for everyone and some would prefer not knowing all the graphic detail….but I needed to know.

Norbert didn’t die alone, as the gliding instructor died with him. Over the months his wife has become a dear friend as we share a special bond in that we both lost our husbands at the exact same moment, and in the exact same way. She was able to answer so many of my questions as she was the first on the scene. It was a very special moment when we met for the first time. Her arms reached out and we hugged and cried together. It felt so good to finally talk with somebody who really understood my pain.

The Forensic Police Officer in charge of the case also met us there, and he was able to answer many more of the technical questions that had been plaguing me in the wee small hours.

As we drove away from the Gliding Club that day, I looked backwards. I saw a beautiful vista with a vast, green expanse and a cloud strewn sky, dotted with tiny white gliders circling lazily in the thermal updrafts created by the warm earth.

This is the last thing my husband would have seen before the glider crashed to the ground at the last moment. It would have made him happy and… well… loving life. It did my heart good to realise this.

My decision to visit the place where my husband died was always going to be fraught with the very real possibility of an emotional break-down, but I truly believe that…for me…it was a very good decision.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Drop a comment below and tell me about it.

Marlene is an Australian widow who has written about all the good, bad and ugly stuff that happened after her husband Norbert died tragically. Marlene responds to all comments.

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