Monday, October 9, 2017

Seeing Shadows

Tomorrow marks 365 days without you.  No phone calls. No emails.  No messages. An empty space where you once sat.  He would clean your small apartment out, she would make phone calls to close accounts, she would make arrangements for your funeral, she would write your obituary, and they would pick you a spot close to the curb.  

We'd revisit that spot together after your passing.  The one where the doors closed behind my Mom at a medical clinic, and you'd collapse while she couldn't get back in to get help because you'd finished your appointment after hours.  She'd call 911, and start to administer CPR on her own, alone.  In the dusk hours of a poorly lit patio, the medics would come and take over for her after what seemed like a lifetime of minutes performing CPR on you.  She'd call me and tell me she was on the way to the hospital.  "What?" was all I could say.  Mom and I had just talked in the morning, and she was going to bake you pumpkin mac and cheese and you were going to spend part of fall break with her.

"She's gone," an hour later I get the call.  I am in shock.  Or grief.  Or I don't know what.  Maybe denial?  36 weeks pregnant and this is not the time for a call like this.  I cannot think of any good time for a call like this, pregnant or not.  

The last year leading up to this day had been difficult.  We'd been trying to help you get the help you needed.  You did not want help.  Fiercely independent from the get-go of life, you always had been stubborn.

I wonder if you'd find it funny that I use your can opener every day, the one Mom bought you so that you wouldn't cut your hands on tin cans.  If you would find it comforting, that I chose to remember you not for the difficult past years, but for who you are in Jesus's presence. 

 I remember once, when we were teenagers, I took you on a walk.  You didn't go on very many of those because you were always afraid of getting lost. Mobility was never one of your strong points.  We came to a curb, you hit it with your cane and held my elbow.  All the sudden, you stopped. 

I asked, "Why did you stop?" 
You said, "I can sense something there, a shadow." 
 I replied, "You can see shadows?"  
And you turned towards me and said,"I feel them blocking out the sun."  

You had learned to 'see' and 'sense' in a way that I could not.  A few feet in front of us, there was a van, blocking out the sunlight.  I would have led you around it.  But your uncertainty stopped you, being that you were used to (although you did not enjoy) running into things...walls, vacuum cleaners, toys or things you or your family left on the floor, not realizing how much of an obstacle they'd be to you.

And I trust, today, that I am the one seeing dimly through a glass, through a shadow, but you are the one who is with Jesus face to face.  If there are birthday parties in Heaven, you will be preparing for it being that you like parties, but somehow I think might be so taken with what it is like to see, to paint, to sing, to enjoy color that maybe a birthday party and gifts would not be such a big thing.

We miss you, dear sister.  But we do not wish you back.  We miss you, but we do not miss seeing you suffer and being totally unable to help.  We miss you, but trust that He can hold you until we meet again.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Resurrection Sunday



Resurrection. Hope. Life. Control. The last time I was sick and felt like this I had a flight to catch, a Mom to hold and cry with,  and a graveside to stand by.  All of that seemed to overshadow the fact that I'd developed cholestatsis, other than the all-over body itch.  "There is joy in new birth, " they comforted.  But how do you give birth under the shadow of death?  When the heart is sad there is only one consolation.

"We sorrow not as those that have no hope," it says.  Sorrow can shake the bones, but it cannot not fracture faith.  It reaches to that part of the heart where we can push grief and hide it.  Activities can only cloud grief for a time.  It lessens and fades, but there are times when it comes roaring back, undiminished in it's fierceness.  Especially birthdays and holidays.  Though I would not wish my sister back with all her struggles, Easter and resurrection have special meaning to me this year.

The first time after the funeral back with the body of Christ, I could not contain my tears.  The songs about resurrection and death defeated barely croaked out as tears ran down my cheeks.  As I held my baby in my arms last night, I remember singing them over her and praying for her life while simultaneously worrying about labor and induction. The past few months have blurred that with the colic and night wakings.  But it does good to remember the Giver and Taker gives good gifts, and He can be trusted with life, and with death.

He, who with death conquered our sin and invites us to inherit his Kingdom.  He, who promises to resurrect our bodies and give us new ones that are not tainted by sin.  He, who is making and promises to make all things new.  He is risen!










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