Year’s from the touch, our hearts still feel tender in moments of our memory’s choosing. It’s easy to feel captive about what you will and won’t allow yourself to esteem or talk about. We’ve held a high rule in our home since Marianne’s death, a rule that has held us together tightly in times grief would’ve pulled us apart. It is always okay to talk about memories of her. In fact, more than okay, sharing memories is a measured must that keeps gauge of our honest movement through grief and life inexplicably coming undone.
Tomorrow makes three years. What makes grief so precariously hard to track is its random rhythm in our lives. Out of nowhere a difficult string of days will move in unpredictably - tempers flair, patience flattens thin, arguments stir quick and tears do fall freely. We are a war torn bunch who sometimes jump at the sound of grief’s return. Never was it easy, and our memories don’t let us forget that.
Still my daughters hold tightly to those close to them. Goodbyes are hard. Each time we leave family after a visit or they leave our house after a few days all together, I recognize their little eyes dim for a bit. They grow quiet, and they remember the feeling of letting go. One day, I’ll have a conversation with the women they will be. I hope to hear sadness their vocabulary struggles to express at times in their young age. I pray their future expression of sadness will give greater evidence to God’s faithful watch over them in His keeping of their designed destiny. Then my joy will be touched with wholeness and once again reminded of the fury and mystery of grace. Maybe I’ll need reminding then.
In poignant eloquence and thoughts collected, too, from the sting of pain, C.S. Lewis observed, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it's there for emergencies but he hopes he'll never have to use it.”
That learned reality is the blessed fruit of pain experienced; to know God because of healing bruises. Only in that regard, maybe I’m more blessed than some. Amen and amen.
Memories taking me back three years and some still hold dark insecurities that if given open door could easily overwhelm my trust in God and who He is. Other memories of saving grace and strength not of my own - from God and family and friends - float atop steady tossing waves and still give passage through grief . . . to the point where I confidently say I am forever healing and not forever grieving.
Grief does burst in and out of life unpredictably. I think many reasons play culprit to grief’s irrational movement in our lives, but possibly most prevalent to me is life’s fragility exposed in death’s touch. In a moment all can be lost. And in that same moment, all can be simultaneously found.
Friends, I count it blessing the three years behind us. All 1,095 days. And for as many are ahead, may grace always guide us and trust always bind us.
As Julian of Norwich hollowly spoke to times beyond her, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Let come what may, and I pray both in smiles and tears we remain honest in all things.
As I look about and count rich blessings sprouting and blooming all around, love, marriage, family and tomorrow, I, for a moment, take to blushing at such weakness and frail faith in difficulty. But then I am corrected by the scars of life's real blow and reminded of the even greater realness of God's hunting grace.
*(artist/image credit: Gillian Carnegie)