In the weeks following the anniversary of my father’s death things have been low. I guess in some ways that is to be expected. How foolish of me to be surprised by my lack of patience for my husband and children! We had a lovely 4th of July birthday celebration for our Lucy with family from out of town and it was so wonderful. John and I commented to one another that it had been one of our best kid birthdays! And it was!
On the Monday that followed my brother-in-law and mother packed my 8-months-pregnant sister up in the car for the long drive home and I found myself angry, but couldn’t place why. Everything was bothering me! It was July 6, the death-iversary! I should be sad! Not mad! And … shouldn’t I be more healed than this? It was frustrating.
A few days later word came that my father’s sister’s heart had finally given out after years of cardiac issues. After a few days in the hospital her heart just quit and she was no more. After my father’s death my aunt and I did not maintain a relationship, despite a few small efforts on her part. It was too complicated for me, and I was still too young and hurt to know what to say or do. So I distanced myself from that part of my family and they allowed it. A few years ago my grandma passed away and my sister called to tell me, much like she had to call and tell me about our aunt. Everything stirs the pot. Her death was a punch to the gut. The waves of grief overcome afresh. People who are close and people who are distant when they should not be move on from this life. It all leaves you wondering. It all leaves you regretful. And now you’ll never know.
Yesterday I got word that an old friend from high school is severely injured after being hit by a car while she was out training on her bike with a group. She was the type of person you loved to get in trouble with. We ran on the track and cross-country teams together. We spent countless hours in her bedroom singing into hairbrushes. We TP’ed her neighbors and met up for Mexican food when we were home from college. She’s now married with four young children. She is on life support. Things are critical. She will always carry damage from this. I am reeling thinking about her and her family and praying for her, thankful that for now she does not fully realize her new reality. (Here is a link to the Go Fund Me for her if you feel led to help her family financially http://www.gofundme.com/za3n8b3)
Sometimes when it is like this I wonder … is the valley ok? Is it ok for it to be hard for me to get out of bed? Am I faithless if I feel sad and a bit downtrodden? My family needs me. I can’t bail on everything and dive headlong into grief and really I don’t want to, well, not all the time. I just want it to go away. I want life to go on with me unscathed. And that is the crux of life and death and perhaps a part of the injustice: Earthly death does not stop the world from turning. Very few will stop for you in your grief for longer than a moment. Six billion people wake up, do their work, eat what they have to eat, choose to love or not to love, do the miscellaneous good or bad or benign things they do, deal with their lives, and then go to sleep. Some of them do not make it sunrise to sunset, and that is how it is. Some of them go to sleep and wake no more and that is how it works.
Some moments alter everything as we knew it, and not for the better. It is not fair and it is not right. It is devastating and horrific and we have to see it. We have to hold it as it bleeds and tell it that everything’s going to be all right, even if it’s not. We have to cradle it as it takes it’s last breath. We have to bury it with our tears. We have to pack up it’s belongings and figure out what’s next. We must pick up and keep moving or be swallowed by it all. At best we can compartmentalize or misplace it for a moment but we can never forget. The troubles of this world are so real. Thank God they are temporary. Thank God new life is always on it’s heels. It has to be. Please God let there be new life.
Some of you might ask me … how do I find God in those moments? My answer to you is this: I did not find God in these moments. He found me.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18