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The Day it all Changed

There are moments in life that define you. Moments that you can’t go back against. You are never the same. Something in you is irreparably changed, broken, shifted.

I don’t know what to say. Two years later it is still a mix of emotions. Half a world away everything collapsed. My step-daughter passed away unexpectedly. She had been battling a brain tumor, but as far as we knew she was doing okay. D was hoping to get back to see her after our trip. She had just gone to Iceland with her mother and sister. Even as she checked into the hospital, she told the staff to give her a room without a few because she was leaving soon.

Her passing was unexpected.

Patty Griffin lyrics still repeat in my head when I think about her. How will we smile ever again? I’m asking you sincerely, my dear old friend. … How will we laugh just like before? When there’s water rising up to our door. And we may never see each other again my dear old friend.

How do you move beyond grief? How do you stand in the loss and questions and all you never got to say or do? I think of the wedding we will never see, kids we won’t get to meet, the relationship we might have been able to cultivate. Mostly, I think of what was left undone. What will never get said or experienced.

Grief is a bitch. That is really all I have. It can take an ordinary day and turn it upside down. It can take a train of thought and turn you into a puddle. It destroys those left behind. It enlarges your regret and mocks your hopes. It tells you you are wrong for feeling X or Y, when you have to feel X or Y to move beyond them. Grief is not like the cold, you don’t get over it, you just learn how to cope and, hopefully, keep it in its place most days.

Over time the regret, loss, anger, incomplete-ness slowly gets partnered with love, remembrance, grace, letting go, and learning to breathe again. You might always walk with a limp. You cannot go back to who you were before. And that is okay.

The moments in our lives that sever our path, that keep us from going back, that change us – they might be hard but they can be good. If we meet them with honesty, invite God into our pain, and be willing to see how He could use it to impact ourselves and others… That might be what makes those scars bearable, something you can see a tinge of beauty in vs. a world of ugly and hurt.

It takes time. It is a choice. And it does not come easy.

Your Hands” by JJ Heller

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