One of the many gifts we have received in this loss is a Dayspring Calendar from Angie Blankenship and Coach. They left it with a card and all of their love. It sits in my kitchen to be read daily. My mom put it there. I love today's script because it speaks of Taylor:
"Her heart believed....and she sparkled from head to toe."
As I finished my soup, I noted the opposite page on the back side of the calendar for January 26th:
"In hard times she had learned three things- she was stronger than she ever imagined, Jesus was closer than she ever realized, and she was loved more than she ever knew."
The paradigm of the calendar, even if its only a coincidence, mirrors the paradigm in which I find myself living. I am thankful that God opened my heart to the possibility of this prose.
These words of others reached inside of me and a decrescendo of thought gently fell. I remembered and reread a letter from my friend, Nona, as she shared her pain and wisdom from losing her first born. She writes:
"I think often of the ultimate mom who shouldn't have had to lose Her Son. Who had to watch Him tortured and punished while being without sin. In my own version of all this, Mary provided the template for us because moms were always going to be burying their children.'
Tom, our pastor has been teaching about Mary and Elizabeth and the disruption their lives endured as they brought their sons into the world. He speaks about their counsel to each other, how they sought each other, and how they were faithful in the midst of their fear. Even though the verse in Luke, " Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." is about the birth of Christ, I cannot help but remember Mary's faithfulness in his death.
The decrescendo continues as Kathy's words echo true, words she wanted to recant: "You cannot grieve her to the depth that you loved her. You will lose yourself." As she lamented saying them, I had to confess that I find solace in the sadness I feel in the loss of Taylor. Grief has a hold on me and has tricked me into holding it when I cannot hold my girl. Then the words from our communion liturgy enter, "his suffering, death, and resurrection....delivered us from slavery to sin and death." How could I let this dark shroud cover me so? How is that honoring that bright spark we called daughter? I do not choose to be a slave to death. I do believe the words I wrote for Tay's service, "We ARE an Easter people." I will not lose myself in this, but I will have to chose to find me again. Kathy's words had wandered long enough in my mind to find a place to root and grow, so we can learn.
The words of others quietly rested as I remembered our sweet neighbor, Grant, the son of our neighbors across the street. When he discovered the star for the family's Christmas tree was broken, he asked if they could use the bracelet Theta created to honor Taylor and place it on the highest branch to act as their star. This sweet boy knows what to do with that kind of bright light. That I would have his courage.
Lest some think me brave, I am only learning how to carry this pain, how to look to Mary's example, how to lean on the women who counsel me, how to accept being this loved. I do not know how to say what Mary said. I stole secret sobs today. In between, I was angry and sad. I will likely cry again as Monday beckons a new week and an invitation to live without her. Many worry for our holiday, but friends I assure you the holidays are no more painful that each day that dawns. Thus the paradigm in which we live - the promise of joy when we are faithful through the trial and the honest, brutal pain of living within the trial so in it, though it, because of it, inspite of it, we might be worthy to #golighttheworld.
Thank you, Nona. Thank you, Kathy. Thank you, Angie. Thank you Lori.. Thank you, Grant. The words you spoke days ago are a good thing today.