Writing every day has been good. There’s a lot that I couldn’t post because it was just too dark; it was true, and I hope it will serve those who are going through that awful maze themselves someday, but it’s probably better off written as a book instead.
I think my grasping at remembering everything, like trying to grasp the wind, is prolonging it. I don’t want to forget, but will remembering every detail help? Will it help me to love my husband, and my children, and my mother, and my friends? I don’t think so. I can’t do that if I’m not present. How long do I allow the recall, purposefully dredging up what cannot come again? It feels like betrayal to forget, but neglecting Today to sift through Yesterday – that doesn’t sit right either. Today doesn’t belong to me. Today will be my children’s background, and theirs to sift through someday. Today is happening to you, and my neighbors, and everyone; it’s not just for my tears. A good friend used to talk about balance; “balance is important, but not everything weighs the same.” It’s true. It’s tricky.
I almost quit school this week. I had looked at my extended due dates, and realized I made a grave error (grave, get it?) – is it too soon for puns? Some of you might say it’s always too soon for puns. You would be in err, but this is a time for mercy.
It was just a hard, very dark day. Probably the darkest day. It’s sneaky, how that tide rolls in. I could not make myself care about the present, and I could not make myself hope to care again for much in the future. The not-caring had a tinge of anger under it though, which tells me it wasn’t true apathy, the one you really need to worry about. It’s just grief. God knows this. My favorite line of my favorite Christmas hymn is ‘He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger’ – He knows.
But I care today. It’s coming back, the things I care about. The clouds broke, and the tide rolled out again. This time, I climbed ashore.
The thing with C.S. Lewis is that he was limited to four notebooks. Four. He had four scratchpads to contain his grief, and he refused to buy another; “I resolve to let this limit my jottings. I will not start buying books for the purpose.” The internet though, it just goes on forever. I cannot always be taking up the invitation; my son turns 9 this week. It is enough.
I know the tides will still come and go, with their errant rogue waves, but the initial storm surge has passed. I know I will still want to call him for our weekly check-ins, and I’ll still cry when the ache wells up. I will never again hear “Hey, Chelsebelle!”, and the world will be dimmer for it. But while grief has to run its course, I cannot get trapped in the eddy again. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’”
Dawn, that inconsiderate, unrelenting, merciful thing – how I am thankful that she will not be stopped. Yesterday, I found myself smiling while running errands. Smiling, can you imagine? A little later, a friend was feeling down and I found myself having encouragement to give, what a gift. I slowly feel myself again; “Oh there you are, Peter.”
Grief has a clarifying and purifying quality to it, like all truth. This has been what I’ve appreciated most, the ‘gift’ of perspective. But as Lewis said, ‘I know the two great commandments, and I’d better get on with them.’ Perhaps Lady Julian of Norwich said it best; “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Peace be with you. I love you, Dad.
C.S. Lewis Quotes taken from “A Grief Observed”, pp 59, 70