But I just couldn't do it. Instead, I spent time with Elaine, Emilie's mama, and spent time being sad. Remembering the journey of this last year.
Time has flown by and crept by all at once. A year seems inconceivable, but sometimes one single minute feels impossible.
I have learned so so much this year, but I would give it all back in a heartbeat if it could change the circumstances through which I learned.
Since I can't, I thought I'd recap some of the most important things I know now that I didn't before January 6, 2015.
- I personally have experienced grief. Even though I didn't lose my daughter, the tears run down my cheeks often for the loss of this brave girl, and the pain in her mama's heart. Elaine tells me often that my tears matter.
- A sense of humor is not inappropriate. Elaine and I shared much laughter before Emilie died, and we still crack each other up. Lightheartedness does not take away from the grieving process.
- The minutes are the most precious. When we are together on Wednesday mornings the minutes fly by but they are important because we are real with each other on the most basic level, and whether we're laughing or crying or listening or sharing sacred silence, our relationship deepens every.single.week.
- Sometimes the waves crash in from out of nowhere. A placid sea turns dark and churning when a squall erupts. Squalls are unpredictable and sometimes unexplainable and they catch you off guard and the grief comes in heavy and quick.
- Sometimes you know the waves are coming. Birth dates, death dates, holidays. Those days, grief is expected but even though you know they are approaching, waves are still waves and they crash in.
- Finding a common interest (ok, maybe obsession) has been really fun. We are now adult color-ers, and we've started making cards out of what we color, and there is beauty.
- Nothing looks the same anymore. I have been forever and fundamentally changed. I hold on to moments and let myself feel deeply and have compassion like I've never had before. I don't try to manage circumstances but instead let them take their course, dependent on Jesus to light just the next step on my path. There's something very freeing there, even though I do still peer ahead into the darkness.
Oh, so much more. My heart hurt, desperately it hurt, yesterday. It feels bruised today. I can't fathom the agony in the hearts of Emilie's family and friends. My sadness is for them, and my wish for them today is peace in the storm.
My wish for myself is that I would continue to grow in compassion for the hurt that's all around me, and that I will gently and carefully hold the hearts of those who are lamenting.
It is a costly privilege to walk side by side with someone who is in the throes of grief, but don't be afraid. You will be refilled, probably by that person. You will offer much and probably feel like you have received more. Your presence, quiet and true, will be a comfort.
We are meant to share burdens, those heavy heavy burdens that are too much for one person to bear. That means I share out my own even as I am sharing in another's. Brokenness is ok, for it is all around us and we are needy and that's ok too. That is real, and it matters and we are in this together after all.
And we long for the day that the clouds part. Come Lord Jesus.
Amen and amen,