Horror Displaced by Hope

Horror Displaced by Hope
  Soon after my mother died (eight years ago today), I met with a friend who had lost her father some years earlier. She told me that at that point, she was able to think about that awful day without feeling the horror of it.   I now know what she means. Death of a loved one is horrible. Its suddenness, its consumption, its finality all leave the bereaved almost stupefied with disbelief, broken with the loss.   But by God’s grace, I don’t feel the horror of my mother’s death anymore. I still experience a lot of grieving moments, and I miss her more than words can say. But I’m able to...
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February Blossoms

February Blossoms
February started out as a difficult month for me this year. I had just begun a new class in my master’s program and spent a few weeks adjusting to the level of research required for assignments, all the while getting back into the swing of balancing a full-time job with schoolwork, church, and relational responsibilities. And I was anticipating today—the seven-year anniversary of my mother’s death—with more emotion and grieving moments than usual. Then, just before Valentine’s Day, the trees surrounding my office building broke into winter with springtime blossoms.     It was unexpectedly...
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No Ordinary Tuesday

No Ordinary Tuesday
Today was an ordinary Tuesday in just about every way. I used my yellow umbrella to get from the door to the car. I had my performance evaluation at work. I came home and made soup, then finished the reading for this week’s assignment in my master’s program. But it is not an ordinary Tuesday because it is the sixth anniversary of the worst Tuesday of my life: the one on which my mother died. And I can no longer talk to her about any of the ordinary events of my day.     Yet, today I felt a different kind of joy in several small, caring gestures—the ones I received, and the ones I gave. They...
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The Years in Front of Us

The Years in Front of Us
My grandfather is known for many things–the summer days fishing on the ocean, the cars he fixed, the funny songs he sang to his grandkids, the poems he’d recite to anyone who’d listen, and the sayings he quipped throughout his life: “The early morning has gold in its mouth,” and “I have more years behind me than I have in front of me.”     Tonight, my sweet, kind grandfather has only hours in front of him. Right now he sleeps an unconscious sleep, his body carrying out the process of dying. It requires neither food nor drink, only rest. Only the effort of taking in oxygen and...
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Week’s End: A Benediction

Week’s End: A Benediction
I look out over a rain-rinsed evening from my third story library window, a cup of hot tea sitting on the windowsill. The air is calm and quiet; a few streaks of clouds are pale pink. I can hear the song of a few crickets as I watch the heavy white blooms of my crepe myrtle tree bob in the slight breeze.     The weekend is closing; another week is about to begin. Sunday nights are a time of transition, from rest to routine. It occurs to me that life is full of transitions; mini ones like this one, recurring weekly; larger ones like the transition from summer vacation back to school that many...
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