Tuesday, June 10, 2008
May 2007 to May 2008 was quite the year for us. We witnessed so many things that bring together the sum total of life – all at the same time and in the wake of it, my soul is weary, but my spirit is at rest. The unique thing is that each miracle was accompanied by a mystery within the same week.
Last spring, we witnessed with joy, the miracle of 2 becoming 1 flesh as my sister Andrea was married to Eric, but it was marred by the mystery of the unexpected passing of Chris’ dad – so many memories and so many questions. Without having much time to consider it, we were given the news that Andrea and her new husband were expecting, within days we got the news that my dad had cancer… Last fall, we welcomed the miracle of our third son, Carter – and everyday is another miracle as we watch him and his brothers grow before our eyes.
This spring, we sadly watched dad grow weaker and though we believed for a miracle, for him to recover – the mystery of death became the miracle that put an end to his suffering. A week later, Andrea’s & Eric’s son – my beautiful new nephew, Anthony, was born.
I felt my grief in losing a dear father-in-law everyday this year, for he kept me company everyday, and took such pleasure in our boys – that always wins over a mother’s heart, and he was so careful to keep the family in touch with each other, and mostly because it effected Chris so deeply. We found and will continue to find solace in the fact that our grief is always punctuated by life, by the very things that fill us with joy and hope. A life of good friends, good news, births, firsts, new experiences, gifts given and received, laughter and tears – coffee time, girls nights, birthdays, quiet nights alone at home, much prayer, many tears and quiet hugs.
I’m not sure how long I will feel the grief over losing my dad, maybe for the rest of my life, and that’s ok, it hasn’t overwhelmed or consumed me, but loss is loss – and this is one that can’t be replaced. I don’t know if this is true for all women, but for me – I distinctly feel like when daddy died, I wasn’t a little girl anymore. We are always our mother’s daughter’s, but we are daddy’s little girls. Even though I’m grown with children of my own – there have been so many moments over the years that I felt very small in the universe – small and vulnerable, but as long as my daddy was around, I was safe. Now I still feel small and vulnerable, but he’s gone, and I don’t feel that same safety. My husband yes, protects me, but he has only known the woman I am, my daddy held me the day I was born, and that little girl that was still there just a few weeks ago, I don’t know where she’s gone, but it’s like, she left, when daddy died. This is something in my soul that I can’t explain. There’s something unique about a father and his daughter, and once it’s gone, it’s gone – you can only hold onto the beauty of the memory, and hopefully, it is a beautiful one. Sadly for some, it’s not. For me, there are many, but some of the most precious were the quiet afternoons when I came home from school and we hung out in the back yard, either on the hammock, in the pool or just sitting around the patio before he went to work. I also loved the Tuesday nights when I’d bake all night and he’d come home from work to taste and critique my work. These were alone moments – which were important to me in having to share him with a big family, I remember him holding my hand when we left Greece and we said goodbye to my Yaya, knowing it would be the last time we saw her alive…and I treasure the memory of dancing with him at my wedding, when he just sighed over and over in my ear, and I knew in my heart he was wondering where the time had gone. I had the honour of putting his first grandson in his arms. Through all these memories, I was still his little girl, and during one of the alone moments I had with him in his final days, he woke from his sleep, grabbed my hand and whispered – “Mimi (his pet name for me), my baby girl”...
And so, the grieving continues, and it is still punctuated by life. When people ask me how I’m doing, I really don’t know. Mostly I’m ok. I’m still at rest in Jesus, I’m still at peace, I know that He Is. But I’m grieving, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it, it just is. There is a hurt that is healing, more everyday, and I know this. The love of God, the company of family and friends and the peace of salvation – His grace truly is sufficient.