Tuesday, the blogging world took a day of silence to remember those lost in Connecticut on the 14th. It was a deeply reflective day for me. Not just on the brokenness of this world, but the brokenness that has come into my life this year and in my lifetime. Tuesday was the 16th anniversary of the death of my father. 16 years. It seems incredulous. I am always sad on this day, even if it is quietly. This year was worse.
The gaping emptiness of his absence always overwhelms me with each child we bring home. Holding Chet would make me miss him if it was springtime. To have a newborn at Christmastime on this anniversary seemed impossible.
I hate that the children didn’t even get a chance to meet him. They will never know his bellowing laugh or horrible cigarettes or tender compassion. Grandparents always have their own special twists on their names. Something they want to be called or some precious jumbledness the first grandchild called them attempting to say it right. Right now, for instance, all of my kids call Sean’s dad “grandpapa.” But Elijah calls him Papa. I hate that my kids call my dad by his first name or “your dad.”
It is little moments like that that remind me of the should’ves and have nots. Just now my friends’ parents are ailing and creaking. They are talking inevitable loss or long term care. I hate that I haven’t just walked it. . . I walked it many, many years ago. I always say I would rather have had the years I had with my dad, knowing he loved me dearly than a lifetime of a stressed relationship. It is true and comforting but it only adds peace to the pain. It doesn’t remove it.
As just a teenager, to lose a parent, sucked my breath away. My heart writhed daily for years. I lived but I certainly didn’t thrive. The hole where my dad was couldn’t be filled. I survived morphing that pain into empathy and tenderness only by God’s grace and protection. Nothing seemed real or possible any more. I had to relearn how to live. It seemed too soon. Broken. Heavy. Unfair.
As a mom now, the thought of losing a parent seems imminent and part of life. It will ache, but it doesn’t feel impossible. But my heart is turned towards the next generation. To think of losing a child or walking through my beloveds losing a child, sucks my breath away. It has been a long couple of years. Those moments have come. Ferociously. Closely. Nothing seems real or possible any more. We relearn how to live. It certainly seems too soon. Broken. heavy. unfair.
Tuesday was heavy for me. The raw emotion of my dad being gone was vibrantly painful. The loss of my friends’ babies, Newtown, and many more stresses made the day quiet.
In that silence, I repeatedly kissed the bridge of my newborn’s nose and remembered the fullness of his Imago Dei. Not just a bearer of Christ’s image. Not just an eternal soul created on purpose with a purpose. Not just, Lord willing, set apart even from the womb.
But a bearer of hope. A tender bundle of not yets and further plans of redemption. A squishy dependent messenger of God’s goodness all over this fallen world.
He reigns. As the darkness of the worst moments has seemed to close in. He reigns. And His fingerprints are everywhere.