In the continuum, the days do not bring more pain than any other month or day, yet they do represent an arduous climb in this marathon we have been forced to run without training or desire. Still, November is Taylor Renee's month - the joy she brought to my birthday, the two week celebration that was her birthday, and the "roly-poly-pell-mell" romp into Thanksgiving and tree trimming. Family nights, Christmas movies and Starbuck splurges filled our November days, and tonight I find myself without her for our third November.
We were numb for the first, exhausted during the second and somewhat lost now. Still, November's anthem plays. Since we know it's tune, it's verses and bridge, we dance when the rhythm beckons, smile when the familiar notes like memories ring true, and sit silently when the music blankets us in grief.
I have aspirations to be Ruth-like, resilient in my faith and faithful in my service. Clearer and clearer, scripture I learned decades ago sits before me. “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." I had this verse read at our wedding - finding symbolism and commitment in its words. During November's anthem, it has been more of prayer, more of a request for strength than a desire for marriage.
I live in two worlds, in two different hearts - the heart I had before a drunk driver killed my daughter and the heart I have now. I probably should have worked as hard on my heart before the wreck as I have to work now. I still have days where I don't know how we got here, where I don't understand how this happened, where I have lulled myself back into denial, and where rage waits for me.
Falling asleep early last night, I dreamed I heard the garage door open and as I awoke half-conscious my old heart skipped to the door to hug my girl. Before my hand reached for the door, my new heart woke up tangled beneath her zebra blanket, confused by the false reality the dream created, heart-broken.
What I can't discern is this: am I to take this mantel off each day or delicately hide it with an ornate disguise, or I am to wear it with the same rebellious pride and heartbreak of Hester Prynne? What the world expects or can endure are sometimes two diametrically opposed forces and disappointing it exists as a source of more pain for me.
Wade, my son and source of oxygen, has been writing a scholarship essay all weekend. While his sentence structure and word choice need an editor's finesse, the goals and aspirations he writes about fill his mother's heart with requisite pride and humility. He writes about lessons he has learned listening to his father and the goals he has for his tomorrow. He is still growing, learning, fumbling his way through social interactions but he is simply amazing and brilliant with an unquenchable thirst for an opportunity to serve, to make this world stronger. His quest for excellence is the consequence of his parents' failure to ever just let him win. I read his thoughts, and I am gripped with guilt that the sheaves of wheat that have been placed for me to gather and prepare are not enough. Ruth worked hard at making the sheaves be enough for her and Naomi, her mother-in-law. Though in a strange land with strange people, her faithfulness to Naomi never wavers and the wheat she gathers is enough - even though her husband was killed.
Not sure how to become Ruth-like - to be faithful and thankful for the wheat provided instead of mourning the fields we left behind. I do know that gratefulness exists in this lost place - it, like the left over wheat, just has to be purposefully picked up, and it like November's anthem remains simultaneously familiar and strange.