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Now

August 22, 2018

A few weeks back my big kids invited me on a bike ride. They had been asking for well over a month for me to join them. I finally arranged to join them.

It was magical.

The day was bright and sunny. The weather hot and perfect for a bike ride.

As we meandered through the neighbourhoods in our community the path went through a wooded area. All I could think is: “Today is the perfect day.”

And it was. It was perfect.

As the sound of the woods surrounded me, and the breeze blew past my ear I realized why it was so perfect: I was living in the moment.

You see, all we have is right now. Now. Right… now. We don’t have the past, and we can only plan (hope) for the future.

For the past several months I have been quiet. Trying to figure out how to say something that is going to anger a lot of people, and if you aren’t ready to hear this, it’s ok. Come back when you are. But here it goes: let go of the past and let go of the dead. You can’t take them where you are going. And they are already gone.

I have been so happy, so very happy. I can to terms with Gift’s death in a new way: that letting him go isn’t forgetting. It doesn’t mean that I don’t grieve what I have lost. It means I can live fully in the present. When I try to hold on to him, I am dragging my past with me. I can let go and be fully here, in the now. Right now.

On the bike ride I finally had words. Gift is my past. I can carry his memory into the future. But there is no place for him in my right now, because he isn’t here.

Sometimes I like to think back on my wedding day. But I don’t think about it daily. I don’t lament about it, or write about it. It was the official beginning to my life with my Love. But I can’t live as if we are newlyweds any more because we are not. We are married. I live like we are: we share our lives. Same with the children: some days I talk about the day they joined our family. But not everyday. And I don’t talk about it with every person I meet.

These people, my Love and my living children are my right now.

That is what I have. It is what great gifts God has given me. The right now.

***********

I had most of this post written before we moved. Before the orca, J-35, carried her dead baby for about 1600km. This display of grief is understandable to any parent who has had a child die. And the metaphor too obvious. But it is true. It’s ok to let go. When you are ready. Just, please, don’t hang on forever. It isn’t healthy, and it keeps your focus away from the right now.

I plan on writing less about grief. And more about living.

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January 21, 2018

Grief is a part of life. Many things can be grieved: a failed exam, a broken toy, a death.

We can learn so much by being open to grief and the beauty that comes with grief. Experience it fully. Allow it to run the course. Don’t hinder it. But also don’t prolong it. Try not to rush things, and don’t hold onto it like an identity because it is not who you are not who you were made to be.

Happy Birthday!

January 10, 2018

While you wait on your gift to arrive in the mail, let me remind you why I love you:

 

  • you inspire people to be more.  More honest.  More comfortable with themselves.  More relational.  More artistic.  More gracious.  Just… More.
  • your willingness to take on a crazy needy friend who had way too much time on her hands
  • you come along side people and see them for who they are.  Even when that is hard.
  • your love for music.  And how you find music to be the score to your life.
  • your deep love of God
  • your love of birth

You have inspired me in so many areas of my life.

Do you remember taking turns consoling each other when my first move came up?  I do. I think that move was not for me. I think me moving was so that others could fill the void that I left and they would get to experience the joy that you bring.

You forge a path that leaves behind a trail of life and beauty.

Your selflessness and drive for people to experience grace have humbled me and taught me how to be more honest in my life.

While moves and different stages in life have created longer periods that we don’t get to see each other I know that you are there when I call.  When I need to birth a child.  Or sit and cry on your couch.  For a cup of tea.  Last minute care of my children. Or when I show up on your doorstep with the remnants of my family because I don’t know where else to go.

Your legacy will be that of love.

Happy 40th Birthday!

(We really need a picture together. Maybe with our crazy matching hats.)

 

Saturday

November 25, 2017

Gift LOVED Captain Underpants. Loved. He loved to laugh and this series is quite funny. Especially for kids. The silliness is out of control.

I miss his laughter.

When it was announced that this movie was coming out it hurt. Gift would have been desperate to see this. Because his need to laugh was deep. And it was contagious.

So, it’s Saturday. And in this house it is pizza and movie night. Tonight I hold his memory close. Heavy, in fact. But listening to my other children laugh and love this feels good.

We can hurt and still love.

Circles

November 17, 2017

I often feel very lonely. I don’t think that is all that uncommon in this day in age. I try hard to move around my circles to meet people. But another circle pulls on me, causing me to be on the fringe of any circle I am in.

Like a Venn diagram. Circles of interactions: military, church, home educator, bereaved parent. Some of the circles overlap. I like it when they overlap, giving common ground and understanding. I love meeting people and hoping we click.

You see, I love deeply. I’m not very good at ‘social graces’. Back when my Love and I were in university the catch phrase was “authentic”. People searched for others who were honest and vulnerable. Apparently I am one of those people. Being told often that I am “so real”. What ever that means. I hide a lot of myself. Afraid to show the tender parts of my heart. Because I love deeply. And I want to love people deeply.

The next thing people were searching for was “community”. People wanting community where they can be real and vulnerable. I got so sick of talking about “what is community”, “what does it look like, and my favourite “how can we each live community a little more”. My solution: stop talking about it and live it!! I would expose my tender heart and find the person in the room who looked as hopeful at the idea as I felt.

There have been a few people who have accepted the love I offered, the olive branch extended. A few. People who accepted me loving them. And allowed me to love them deeply.

As I have gotten older, moved around, had more children it has been harder to find people who are willing let me love them. And even fewer who love back.

You see, that is where the Venn diagram comes into play. I could say I am alone. Stuck in the centre as there are very few Christian-home educating-army wife-bereaved-blogging women. I allowed myself to be stuck there, alone. But look at all those circles! I am not alone! I have several circles that I can draw from. And I have been trying.

I’ve also allowed myself the space to release those who aren’t as willing to accept the extended branch as much. It’s ok. I still love. And I know that for some they just don’t have the time right now. There is space for that too.

I have been trying to extend myself into the circles I inhabit. I don’t have experience moving father into some of them. Being a military wife is not a big circle in my life. But the friends I met there are near and dear to my heart. And those that share my faith are so important because I can share with them the troubles of my beliefs. My homeschooling network is so special as we can share our daily struggles with understanding and humour. The circle with the smallest amount of people, but one of the heaviest is the bereaved. I don’t know many who have to carry this burden, thankfully. The ones I do know I am ever grateful for because they just know. No words needed.

But to those of you still reading: thank you for allowing me to feel the hurt of being lost and lonely. Thank you for allowing me to extend live and accepting it. My tender heart is feeling more open again. Thank you to those of you who see the real me and allow me to love you. Thank you for the few of you who love me back.

November 10, 2017

Some of the hardest things about having had a child die is the knowledge that at any moment your life can change. As you put a child to bed the terror that strikes you: will your children still be alive in the morning? You stand at the door with the logic of Schrödinger’s Cat, but in child form, playing through your mind: if I don’t open this door then my child is still alive for as long as I can hope, but if I don’t open this door and my child is in distress (or worse) and I did nothing. The conundrum eating at you, anxiety growing. The flash backs of death so real you may actually throw up. Every night. Before I finally give way to sheer exhaustion I wonder if tomorrow my children will be alive. The panic. Knowing what it feels like to have your heart smashed, and it never fully healed. And you wonder if you can survive another catastrophe.

And the knowledge that you precious child is forgotten by everyone else. The loss that won’t be replayed as people remember more important losses.

It doesn’t make my loss less significant. Just less noteworthy.

12 years difference

September 11, 2017

I didn’t usually put the tv on in the mornings. And normally my Love would be at university. But as I turned on the television everything was wrong.

I hadn’t gotten food. We had been away all weekend and I hadn’t planned meals properly. So Gift didn’t take the school bus. We took his father to work and the I ran in to the grocery store and got food.

There was smoke. Billowing smoke. Commentators seemed as confused as I felt. Holding Gift on my hip, I had brought him out to feed him breakfast. Then the second plane hit. Silence.

I threw some pepperoni sticks, juice and pears with some cookies into his lunch bag then dropped him off. “I love you, go learn something.”

I don’t know what I did the rest of the day. I called people. Shocked. I cared for Gift. I called to book a time for our small group to go and donate blood.

My mother in law arrived as I finished making a dessert for supper. It was still morning, but I had an appointment with my Love and I knew he was already having a bad day, so I had made him supper to take to him.

I don’t know what I did that day.

I don’t know what I did that day. But the police found out.

I watched as the world changed. My infant son would never know a world without war.

As the sun set, my world had changed. I now faced a world without my son.

The Survivor Tree, charred, but alive. The scar of the burns under the new bark, no longer visible to show what it survived.

My surviving hides scars in the same way that the tree does. The difference is I don’t walk around with a plaque explaining why I cried so hard at the 9/11 Memorial. How this day, the 11th of September, is more than just the day the world changed: it’s the day that changed my world.