1,000 Days

Today marks 1,000 days since a reckless driver stole Brooke from us. Some of those days have been the darkest of my entire life. Some of those days have surprised me when moments of joy streaked across the horizon beckoning me forward. Mostly, 1,000 days have marched on despite the incomprehensible reality that Brooke isn’t here.

Though Brooke is not physically present, the love we shared didn’t die. We cheat death in a thousand ways when recall memories of our loved ones. Love dances beyond the fingertips of death. There are a thousand memories that death can’t touch:

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Purpose in the Pain

In high school, I was first introduced to the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and the five “stages” of grief in the book On Death and Dying. She introduced the stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – in the context of individuals who were facing their own impending death. Later, she and David Kessler published a work, On Grief and Grieving. Both books have been incredibly helpful in understanding this thing called “grief” and for figuring out what’s “normal.”

However, there was still something missing.

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Shattered

Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

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That’s All You’ve Got?

Imagine – it’s your birthday. You’ve been wanting a certain something. You’ve dropped all of the perfect hints for the last six months. There is no doubt about what you really want.

The box is set before you. It is the exact size. It doesn’t weigh too much or too little. It shakes just right. You just know that all of the thinly-veiled hints have hit the mark.

Your own cleverness doesn’t even spoil your excitement because you really want this gift. In fact, your cleverness of having figured it out just fuels your eagerness to tear through the wrapping.

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Take It Away

Just make it stop!

Make it go away!

Let it all be a horrible dream . . .

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a thought like one of these over some situation in my life. Those numbers have risen exponentially over the past 870 days. When I say, “Make it stop! Make it go away,” I don’t mean make the pain stop. I mean take IT away. Take away the very source of my anguish.

I mean bring her back.

When we ask God to make a situation better, isn’t that what we really mean?

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Learning To Fly . . .

It was spring of 2012. The thick aroma of crawfish bread, gumbo, and po-boys cut through an even thicker shroud of South Louisiana humidity. Anticipation dangled in the air as the girls and I waited for Tom Petty to arrive on the Jazz Fest stage.

By this time, the girls had reached ages (14 and 12). Arguably a suitable age to run to the concessions on their own (using the “buddy system”). So, I watched them traipse off into a sea of strangers while I waited. 

And I waited. 

And I waited.

Ticking off minutes is not exactly in my wheelhouse. In this particular case, I had to fight off a torrent of worry over improbable outcomes to the situation. This did not make ticking any easier.

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Grief School: Lesson #2 – It’s a Thing

It was just a fourteen-year-old Jeep. Yet, when it sold last week, you would have thought I was selling a kidney for the emotion that was stirred up.

Miles of wandering like a nomad when Hurricane Katrina left us homeless.

Miles of traveling back home to take care of a beloved Aunt who became ill unexpectedly.

Miles of horseback riding lessons.

Miles of soccer games.

Miles of tennis lessons.

Miles of hauling tack trunks and saddles.

Miles of road trips.

Miles of who knows what when that old Jeep was turned over to my older daughter at age 16.

Over 153,000 miles of my life was wrapped up in that Old Jeep. What’s the big deal? I’ve sold and traded vehicles without so much as the bat of a lash. Why was this time so different?

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