I’m not one that believes in coincidences. When things happen, like they did today, I don’t doubt that there is purpose and intention beyond what I see and know. Just today I ran into three different people in three different locations who had lost a parent. Three people.
When my mom died, a dear friend sent me an email sadly welcoming me to the loss-of-a-parent-club. Just last week, my father-in-law joined the club. Sadly, it’s a club that most of us will, someday, join. Today, there were few words exchanged with these club members, only a slight nod of the head and a gentle, knowing smile. Yeah, it hurts.
This journey is a fickle one. . . kind of like the weather where I live. In a days time you might witness the transition from warmth and sun to rain to wind and snow. So, too, I’ve found the flight from joy to sadness can occur in a moment. The assumption is innocently made that I must be healing, because I’m moving forward. I find myself wondering, though, what it means to heal from loss. I’ve gotten over it? It doesn’t hurt anymore? That it’s all okay? I don’t think any of these things will happen. I recently read that C.S. Lewis described that losing his wife was like having a leg amputated. You don’t get over your amputated leg. The wound may heal, but the leg will never grow back. You’ll always have that absence in your life, and you’ll always walk with a limp.
That probably sounds so dark. In a way, though, it sets me free. It frees me to get comfortable with the wound. . .
Getting through Thanksgiving was a big deal. There was a plan, an expectation, a readiness to rally our way through it. And we did. I was reminded this week, however, that its not so much those “big” days as it is the everyday. I used to tell my mom everything. She was number 3 on my speed dial, after Chad, and that 3 got an abundance of pushes. “Guess what Charlie just said?” “Oh you wouldn’t believe the pigtails in Chanelle’s hair.” “Mom, I’m overwhelmed”. “So, whatcha up to?” Yep, she heard it all. There was something about who she was that made life’s curve balls seem less harsh. I needed that this week.
Oh, and Chanelle. She’s the tough one. When Chanelle was born my Mom was in the room. After the birth of three grandsons in three years my Mom’s excitement at having a girl equaled, if not surpassed, my own. I watch my beautiful kids growing and the heartache of what she’s missing is so real. I wish she could know them. I wish she could delight in the stories of their lives. I wish she could see me being a Mom. I miss the comfort of her voice. I miss the “awws” and the “I wish I lived closer” when I would tell about the un-exciting moments of our days. . .
But I do continue to move forward. It probably doesn’t sound like it, but I do. Minute by minute, day by day. The effort to drink in the simple moments is more intentional. The beauty of the right now is enough to fill me up. The preciousness of this season is worth more than all the money in the world. By no means does loss steal an ounce of joy from the joyful moments. . . it actually produces joy from the deeper recesses of my soul.
It’s when I meet others who are in the really crappy club that I am comforted to know that this is all normal. All these feelings. . . we’ve all got ’em, in one form or another. . . and it’s okay. I also know that it wouldn’t hurt so much if the love that we shared wasn’t so real. And for that. . . I am so very thankful.