Season 3

On March 16th, just two short days away, it will be the second anniversary of Brooke’s accident. With wedding anniversaries, there are time-honored understandings about what to do. Paper, cotton, leather, flowers, wood cover the first five years. Tin, crystal, china, silver, gold, diamond as time drags on. Even though you wouldn’t expect anniversary gifts to be “one size fits all,” society has tried-and-true suggestions for how to tick off each passing year. 

Not so much with death. Like marriages, no two grieving families are the same. Yet, we don’t even try when it comes to death anniversaries.

There is no script.

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Motion Granted

For over twenty-five years, I’ve been an attorney. Arguing was a big part of my job. Granted, we attorneys dress up our arguments with flowery language. We lay them out in poetic prose. We even give written arguments cute nicknames like “Petitions” – “pleading” our case – or “Motions” – “moving” the court to see things our way. 

Sometimes, my prayers to God resemble a legal argument more than a heartfelt plea. I tend to throw decorum aside. I just go barging into God’s office “pleading” my case or “moving” Him to see things my way. (For the record, I’ve never barged into a judge’s chambers.)

A few Sundays ago, I kinda pulled that “barging in” thing. As my husband and I sat in services at our local church, the sermon had come to a close. The pastor announced that it was time for a baptism. 

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It’s All So Puzzling

Imagine the scene (and you can because you’ve been there) – First, you dump all of the pieces out of the box onto the table. If there are any pieces that remain joined from the factory, you have to tear them apart. Then, you begin the process of putting it all back together. Find the four corners and all of the edges. (Don’t cha hate when that one middle piece with a nearly straight side gets mixed in with the real edges.) Separate the remaining pieces based on color and/or where you think they fit into the overall picture.

Doesn’t life often feel a lot like working on a 5,000-piece puzzle without a box top and with six similar pieces from an unrelated puzzle mixed in? Sometimes, I feel like God has dumped thousands of puzzle pieces in my lap. Taken a few out. Added a few that don’t belong. And, expects me to put it all together without any reference. It’s worse than one of those solid color puzzles. You know the one where thousands of pieces come together to form the solid white or yellow or blue square that graces the top of the box. 

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You Say It’s Your Birthday

Funny thing before we delve into this week’s blog – first, I’m late again. Thankfully, I might be the only one keeping track. Second – I’m early. Yep, this is the blog that I had in mind for next week – when my daughter, Megan, turns 21. Due to a twisted turn of events – namely that I am wholly unable to keep proper track of time these days – I present next week’s blog this week:

Do you remember what you did for your 21st birthday? Or your 18th? 10th? 30? 50? – pick your milestone poison. You likely have fond memories of that day, unless you landed in jail, in which case I hope enough time has passed that you can look back and laugh.

What if something worse (much worse) than jail happened on your birthday?  My mother’s oldest brother, Mike, died of a heart attack – on his daughter’s birthday. Yes, there isn’t much worse that can happen on your birthday than for your dad to die of a heart attack.  It’s awfully hard after that to look forward to another birthday much less ever to look upon that particular day with anything other than heartbreak. Or is there?

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Holiday Hangover

“Happy New Year!” How many woke up on January 1stwith a touch of “rockin’ pneumonia” from ringing in the New Year? When you’ve been through (or are still dealing with) a tough time, the holidays bring a different kind of “hangover.”

“They” expect us to be happy during the holidays. Thanksgiving is a time focused on gratitude. Christmas is an expectant time to celebrate the gift of the birth of Christ. New Year’s ushers in fresh starts and excitement for what the new year will unfold.

“They” underestimate the amount of energy required to get from November to January. Mustering the drive needed to make that holiday haul can zap us – mentally, physically, and emotionally. And when we do arrive at January still intact, we are kinda left wondering, “what next?”

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Half-hearted

My daddy gave me a pair of gloves for Christmas 2000. There was nothing special about them. Just a simple (but warm) pair of black gloves with fleece lining. Two months later, my daddy was diagnosed with lung cancer – aggressive and sinister. By the time the cancer was detected, it was too late. Two months after his diagnosis, he passed away at age 56.

All of a sudden, those Christmas gloves became special. Seriously, I placed so much emphasis on those gloves as the last little connection between me and my daddy. Perhaps, I shouldn’t have placed so much importance on something physical and fleeting, but I did. So, you can just imagine how sick I became when the gloves became separated. 

At first, I didn’t believe one was lost. I was convinced that I would find the missing glove. Time passed. No reunion. More time passed. Still no reunion. 

Years went by. Yes, I carried the found glove around for years.

I slowly became to accept that perhaps, the gloves would not be together again as soon I would have hoped and I might have to learn how to survive with just the one glove. It’s the same realization that slowly settles into your bones after losing someone you love. Like gloves work better in pairs, the heart works better whole. Yet, you come to learn how to survive half-hearted.

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Gone Too Soon

Over the last week, our nation and the world became a little less dignified. A little less civil. A little less honorable.  A little less humble. A little less colorful. Well . . . it just became a little less. Our former president, George H. W. Bush (a/k/a “Bush 41″), has “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.” (borrowing the eloquent words of another former president) After ninety-four full years, Bush 41 joined his beloved, Barbara, and their daughter, Robin, who passed at age three nearly sixty-five years ago.

Even though the Bush family is obviously saddened by their loss, it is so evident that they are also celebrating a long life, well-lived. As well, they should. President Bush’s life was filled with humility, humor, service, love, and so much more.

Celebrating life is so much easier when someone passes away just shy of a century. Read more