Monday, February 18, 2019

Hope Persists

We had a family birthday party a while ago, celebrating three birthdays that all occur within three weeks or so. We met at Neal and Tracy's house: all my siblings, my parents and some of the grand kids. Picture taking started, and it wasn't long before someone said, let's get all the siblings. They counted off six, and said, you're all here. And in my mind I thought, no, we are seven.

I talked with Russell about it later, telling him I didn't want a picture without Neal. There were only two brothers there, not three, and even though I've navigated some of this journey through grief, I still have a tenuous sense of reality sometimes - how is it possible that Neal is not here?

I'm old to be starting Grief 101. Many have been acquainted with it far longer and at an earlier age. I'm learning, taking baby steps, just like my four year old grandson, whose counting and alphabet are perfect one day, then all over the spectrum the next. I'll think I've turned a corner, and then I'm crying every day again. I hear a song and feel like I've been punched in the chest. I read a book and dissolve into a tangle of questions. I speak boldly about trusting God and his goodness at the same time that I'm wrestling with  niggling doubts.

I think grief may always be there, like a bad sunburn, just below the surface of each day. At birthdays, reunions, anniversaries it will flare up and hurt again, for a while.

My big-hearted husband held me, and cried with me, then gently said, this is your family now. This is the new normal. And I know he's right. The picture has changed, and it will change some more, probably many times. But hope persists, and we will be seven again someday.



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Hope Persists

We had a family birthday party a while ago, celebrating three birthdays that all occur within three weeks or so. We met at Neal and Tracy...