Friday, November 25, 2005

Joy and Grief

Dear Rachel,

Yesterday was tough. Much more so than I imagined it would be. We know the holiday season is one of the toughest milestones to work through and all I can say is I hope next year is a lot better.

I found the following passage in a book I've been reading and keep turning back to read it again and again:

"It used to be, on many days, that I could close my eyes and sense myself to be perfectly happy. I have wondered lately if that feeling will ever come back. It's a worthy thing to wonder, but maybe being perfectly happy is not really the point. Maybe that is only some modern American dream of the point, while the truer measure of humanity is the distance we must travel in our lives, time and again, 'twixt two extremes of passion - joy and grief,' as Shakespeare put it. However much I've lost, what remains to me is that I can still speak to name the things I love." (Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver).

I remember not too long ago telling Rod that I was very happy. Maybe even perfectly happy. Life was good. (Both of us even have t-shirts with those exact words - wonder if we'll ever wear them again.) You were about to graduate from college. Amy had returned to Texas and was settling back into her college career. Shaylyn was 99% potty-trained. ;) All was right in our world and we had no complaints (well, except for the Bronco that kept leaking oil or something all over the street and garage!).

And in the blink of a moment, our lives were shattered.

While I didn't really experience any joy yesterday, I did find some enjoyment in the distraction of being with Maddie and Emily (and their parents - whom I am very thankful for!). The girls made me smile and laugh and for a few hours I wasn't feeling as sad as I had been during the day.

I can still speak to name the things I love:

My best friend and husband, Rod.
My beautiful, intelligent and funny daughter, Amy.
My sweet, genius-baby granddaughter, Shaylyn.
My wonderful, loving, generous and supportive parents, Mom & Bill and Dad & June.
All of my family and friends - so many who have done so, so much for me this year.
A beautiful, warm home in a great community.
Books, music, fresh ground coffee, chocolate, wine, flowers, the laughter of children, a letter in the mailbox.
Smiles and hugs from my nieces.

And you.

Even though you're not here, you're in my heart and I love you. Always will.

I know that one day all the memories I have of you will bring me joy rather than sadness. And while I may never feel perfectly happy again, I will strive to find joy in those things I love and cherish and never take any for granted.




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