It’s been awhile. I’ve been resisting writing a post for awhile now, for various reasons. But, I’ve found when I’m resisting writing is usually when I need it most.
The anniversary of Brooklyn’s birthday has come and gone. It was a beautiful and difficult day to navigate our way through. I was so anxious about what “the day” would bring. Would I crumble into a thousand little pieces? Would it feel like it did when the grief was new? Would I know what to do to honor her well? Well, I didn’t crumble into a pile on the floor. It certainly hurt that we weren’t getting to throw our sweet girl a birthday party with family and friends. There was no cake, no presents, so streamers. Only one purple balloon, lots of tears, words of promise, reflecting and lots of longing.
We stepped into the pain, and we survived. Again. We even managed to share a few laughs and smiles under a big tree and a perfect picnic lunch a friend had prepared for us. Every step of the way just feels so scary as we walk through this first year without her. The pain is always real, but the joy and comfort is real too. And, lots of that came in the form of friends and family sending cards, flowers and gifts or donated money to Brooklyn’s Scholarship fund or elsewhere in her honor, to remind us they were thinking of us on that day. Thank you everyone, that meant the world to us.
Thanksgiving was. I don’t know how to describe it in one word? It wasn’t bad. And, it didn’t necessarily feel good either. I felt hurt that day. Not just missing her, not just longing to be with her again, but I felt offended. It felt personal that day. I have treated thankfulness like medicine in my life, but now I felt He was really asking me if I was thankful. Period. No agenda; no attempts to maintain a “proper” perspective-but just as the smell of the turkey cooking in the oven permeated the house, could you smell gratitude living in my heart in even this? I wonder if it was a little how Peter felt when Jesus asked Him if He really loved him? Each time, cutting through to a different layer in His heart.
Well, the answer came in tears and missing dessert. But, don’t worry I had some as soon as I felt somewhat presentable to be around people, again. Conviction can’t keep us from pie. Our waistlines can probably all attest to that. And then I had the most “Duh-you-moron realization”. The year the Pilgrims sat down together to give thanks was most likely the absolute worst year of their lives. They journeyed across the ocean on an uncomfortable, unsanitary boat, many had suffered through illness, cold, hunger and LOTS died. There were probably multiple Mom’s spending their first Thanksgiving without what should have been the newest addition to their family, or wives or husbands who were without their spouses. They had all known suffering and pain, but they also knew God’s provision. His provision did not look like perfection, nor did it mean a pain-free journey, but that you could see it at all was worthy of thanksgiving and preparing the best foods they had. So, really this was probably my first real Thanksgiving experience. This year I have known loss, this year I know longing and yet, I also know provision, comfort and care more than I ever have before. All these past Thanksgivings I’ve sat down at the table with family and friends, they were all just practice. This was the real deal.