Friday, October 3, 2014

The Window of Grief

'Lil Moe was rescued from the side of the road over a month ago and though I found a home for her, I am currently kitten-sitting while her new family is hiking the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  We both stare out the window.
I should be working on my christmas concert.  Instead, I'd rather just sit and stare out the window. Truth is, I AM staring out a window - it goes with me everywhere I go.

It's funny how everyday things look different when you view them from the window of grief.  Simple things make you cry.  You brace yourself for those moments but alas they don't happen when you think they should. Then, suddenly, without warning the strangest things bring you to tears and usually at inconvenient times.

I learned what grief feels like when my father died so I am better prepared for this season of my mother's passing and am less concerned about those unexpected 'grief moments'.  In fact, when they come, I try not to fight them.  They are different than the ever-present compression in your chest that makes it hard to breathe.  They come and go.

Today has been full of them.
  • A friend invites us to the beach over Thanksgiving......I realize my mother won't be here - it feels cruel to go without her, yet staying home doesn't make sense either
  • I arrive on the campus of Messiah College today for a speaking engagement.....Messiah College is rich with family history
    • my mother fell in love with her first husband here when she was 14  
    • she later returned as a widow to work for the Dean of Students
    • she fell in love a second time and met my father here and re-married
    • my father was a professor here later when my older brother Nathan drowned in our farm pond (my father had been at Bucknell University that day to look at their new science building as Messiah was considering a new science building too)  
    • mother called the college that day to ask them to get a message to Orville saying he should come straight home when he arrived back at the school....(this was before the days of cell phones)..she didn't want him to find out over the phone that Nathan was gone
  • today I spoke to Administrative Assistants in the very same room where my mother and I enjoyed a delicious lunch together a few years ago with classmates of her's from the 40's as my father was honored with a scholarship in his name at the college - she enjoyed being with them and hearing stories about Orville from his college days - it was meaningful for both of us - now I am here without her
  • as I drove to the college, I tried to rehearse my christmas concert in the van, but the songs only evoked tears - it's going to be interesting to do holiday music when the holidays are such a potent time of year when you've lost your loved one
All this was happening in my heart as I walked the campus and spoke to the diverse group gathered for a special luncheon.  However, there were no tears.  Only the deep compression in my soul.

Last night, there were tears.  We had just finished rehearsing "All To Jesus I Surrender" as a worship team and suddenly, out of nowhere they came.  I think it was the combination of beautiful acoustic guitar and piano bursting into spontaneous praise without any voices and the refreshment of doing an 'old song' that my mother would have loved.

There will be times in the season of grief when you will view everything through the window of losing your loved one. When that happens, open the window wide and let the memories (and tears) pour forth.  It is a healing balm and lets the sunshine back in....even if it takes years.