Unification News for September 2002

Starting Over

Edy Iversen
September, 2002

On March 3rd I celebrated the one-year anniversary of the death of my beloved husband Tom. There is not a day or a minute that goes by that I do not think of him or am reminded of his tender loving character. More than anything else the death of someone you love teaches you about the incredible value of your own life.

You can no longer take for granted even one moment. Small insignificant things make you weep uncontrollably. The littlest kindness can render you inconsolable for hours. You can never watch the news again with the same eyes. War tears your heart out. Even disciplining your children becomes almost impossible. You want to give them everything just to take the pain away from their heart.

In spite of the agony and loneliness of death, life goes on and so must you. It is actually a time of tremendous opportunity for many people if only they can realize it and can go beyond their sadness. It is a second chance in life and time for a new beginning.

In the past because of marriage and children, we are many times forced to sacrifice our own personal God given gifts to raise our children, to pay the bills and to take care of the ones we love. But death is a tremendous opportunity to re-create that someone we somehow neglected for a long time and that is ourselves.

When my husband died I was so overwhelmed with grief I could barely function. He was my whole world. Every thing I looked at reminded me of him. It was unbearable. I got down on my knees and asked God, what next? How can I pick myself up from this misery and go forward? And I heard a voice that said, " Go to Washington D.C.

Though I had worked in DC several times over the past 17 years it was usually just for a special event and only for a couple of days at a time. But to move my whole life, future and son to an unknown place especially a huge city full of traffic, seemed impossible to me. I had spent the last seventeen years in two small towns in South Dakota and Florida where my worst fear was hitting a deer or a senior citizen crossing the road. Yet, I knew it was fate. So to the disbelief of family and friends, I followed my intuition and off I went with my fourteen-year-old son and began a new chapter of my life.

I realized when I got here that God had prepared everything for me already. I found a very nice home in Maryland that I could share with a woman whose husband was working overseas temporarily. Her daughter also was the leader of our church youth group. Within weeks our home became "teenage central" to the joy and delight of my son. He was adopted into a household of friends almost overnight. We also found a great school with a baseball coach who took a special liking to my son. He helped in so many ways to encourage him to go on with his life after losing his best buddy, his father. I found a job in Public Relations in the non-profit sector. This included working at the Capitol and organizing major conferences for leaders in the DC area.

Less than two weeks after my arrival the Pentagon was almost destroyed and the Twin Towers were decimated. I was terrified. Who wasnít? But more than fear for my own life, I was scared for the life of my country and important leaders that were sacrificing their own lives every day to maintain the freedoms we cherish here. I knew I had to do something to protect our nation?

In the chill of winter, I went do to the Capitol every day with my handy legislative directory and prayed at the steps of the halls of Congress. I read the biographies of our legislators and leaders. As I prayed over each picture my teardrops kissed their faces.

The past had provided me with the incredible opportunity to work with so many conscientious Congressman and woman over the years. The thought of anything happening to the leaders of this country and our historic Capitol was unfathomable to me. In spite of the media hype, I had oftentimes seen firsthand the selflessness of our elected officials, their overburdened schedules, the public sacrifices of their families and personal lives to insure the preservation of the "land of the free and home of the brave". In one fell swoop of terror everything could be lost.

On New Yearís Day, I went to the White House, stood behind itís iron gates and besieged God for the protection of our President, his family and our nation. I heard somewhere that God cannot deny the tears of a motherís heart. I thought of President Washington praying in the snow for the sake of America, having only an army of beaten and defeated men. So much blood, sweat and tears had been shed for this country. I felt so helpless as did most Americans. This was all I could think to do to personally stop this reign of terror.

Within four months of my relocation, I helped to coordinate three major historic conferences. The first was an Interreligious and International Conference that brought over 450 world leaders together from different nations and different religions for the sake of Global Peace. The highlight of the conference was a beautiful bridge ceremony between warring countries and leaders. To see a very important Israeli Rabbi and a Muslim Imam embrace with tears gave hope to even the most cynical of the group and provided a vision that peace can be a reality in our lifetime.

Next I worked on a series of International Leadership Conferences that were conducted in almost every state in America. These brought together leaders to work for the sake of peace. At the conferences we appointed 120 Ambassadors for Peace to work on the social and moral problems of each individual state.

And finally I found myself in the midst of organizing a prayer luncheon for the current global situation with over 150 religious leaders of all faiths praying together for the sake of the world. I felt my husband looking down and smiling from Heaven when I was working on this event and I knew his spirit was with me. It was a profound experience.

All this happened after thinking my life was over when my husband died? What possibly could be worth living for after someone you love is gone? I guess the powers that be knew something I didnít. I realized that in spite of my own tragedy, there was a suffering greater than mine and that somehow through trying to alleviate the misery of God, my heart could be healed in the process.

Sometimes suffering can be a great friend and teacher if you donít let it embitter you. It can be the catalyst to bring you to a higher and deeper place and to realize who you really are and what you are made of. In the process, I have developed a new level of gratitude, hope and patience. And I look on my "so called" life as a new beginning to be able to contribute in a way I never could before.

Recently I saw a little boy in a wheelchair with a crippling disease who wrote beautiful poetry. Even in the midst of pain he could still give and comfort others. I have learned by giving to others, the pain grows less and less each day. I am a peace now with my loss, because through it I have gained much more than I ever realized. A year ago I could never imagine I would smile again, laugh or think of anyone else but myself. But little by little I am finding my way. If you too are walking this lonely road, I reach out my hand and heart to you. One day the pain will lessen and the sunís warmth will reach you again. It is true that "when God closes the door he opens the window". And I thank him for that.

Luckily I have also had the help of a personal coach and counselor to help overcome the grief. This has been very beneficial for me and I highly suggest reaching out for this kind of help. Going beyond the death of someone you love is not easy, but standing still and settling for desperate loneliness or misery will never allow you or the person whom you lost to be happy. For the sake of the person you loved, go forward, find joy and take their spirit with you on the path, as it is only a matter of time when you will meet once again.

Edy Iversen, is 48 years and worked as a Public Affairs director in Washington DC. She was married to her husband Tom for almost 20 years and they have one 15 year old son. She is also a freelance writer. You can reach her at Iversen2@aol.com

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