You may my glories and my state depose, but not my griefs. I am king of those.”
~ William Shakespeare
Come Friday, my girls and I will gather under my gazebo to celebrate what would have been their father’s 77th birthday. We will order take-out from his favorite Mexican restaurant and share memories precious to us. Their dad and hero died when they were just teenagers, and watching me cope with losing my mother has stirred up their pain and exposed their wounds again. In the last three weeks, they have each chosen to get a tattoo. Symbolic words and pictures of their loss are now and forever etched in their skin
Our family just passed the six-month anniversary of my mother’s death. But it is one year ago today that we really lost her. She never could fully recover from hours on a heart bypass machine, and the damage already done so many years before.. And during some of the most agonizing days of our lives, we have experienced other losses. If we were Chinese, it might be our Year of Loss:
My husband lost his job in June.
My youngest daughter, so triumphant in recovery, lost hers before that.
My husband and I lost our trip to Rome; at least for now.
My sister lost her boss and friend to retirement and shockingly, lost the opportunity to replace her. She also lost her sweet cat, Leo to old age.
My youngest sister lost what she thought was her dream job after a couple of nightmare months. She left discouraged and disgusted.
My brother lost his career’s passion to the company that was forced to surrender after 20 years. His wife is losing her father to lung cancer. He has stopped experimental treatment to enjoy whatever time he has left.
If mom was still alive, she would suffer our losses with us; sometimes taking them even harder than we did. She would listen to our despair and empathize as only she could. She would patiently talk us through the slings and arrows, and softly remind us that everything happens for a reason. She would tell us that we deserved whatever we were seeking...joy, resolution, victory, or peace. She would then valiantly bear testimony to her belief that we would most surely find it.
If only she could be here when we did.