I am sitting here one year from your passing, still trying to make sense out of the senseless. Still missing you - your presence, your voice, your touch. It just doesn't seem possible that I have lived an entire year without you.
Like most grieving people, I've done several things to try and get through this past year. I've read books, met with our pastor, talked to counselors, listened to the advice of friends. I don't want to say it has all been for naught, but I find myself some days still stuck in a place of deep sadness. There are days when I still refuse to accept what happened to you, and I refuse to let God in on the healing process. That means admitting my loss. Accepting my loss.
I am working on that, slowly, but surely. I've definitely come a long way from last August, but I still have a long way to go. I can't deny it forever. I will never heal if I do.
So I march on, deep in the trenches of grief warfare, full body armor, feelings pummeling me from every direction.
This summer, I read "One Thousand Gifts" by Christian author Ann Voskamp. In it, she challenges readers to start a gratitude journal, seeking out one thousand things that bring joy. How do we fully live when life is full of hurt? Eucharisteo.
Remember and give thanks, in everything. Even when it hurts. Even when it's hard. Even when it's ugly. Hard eucharisteo.
"Remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust; to really believe. Remembering, giving thanks, is what makes us a member again of the body of Christ. Remembering, giving thanks is what puts us back together again in this hurried, broken, fragmented world.
"He asks us to eat the mystery of circumstances we don’t understand. How to find gratefulness when we weep? Does it comfort at all to know that in the midst of our pain, God is keeping a list? A list that turns us and the cosmos inside out and changes everything, changes me and my perspective and the way I brain-film my life:
"You have recorded my troubles.
You have kept a list of my tears.
Aren’t they in your records?" (Ps. 56:8, NCV)
"God does not slumber for He cannot cease to bear testimony to our hurt. God keeps a list. It’s the wildest love that drives the Father to record his child’s every lament. We never ache without God attending, and he can’t stand to see a tear fall to the floor. God cups our grief and puts our tears in his bottle. It’s love that makes God a list-keeper of our brokenness, and it’s love that can make us list-keepers of our blessings. In this we might meet together in communion."
This book came at a pivotal time in my grief journey. But it definitely threw down the gauntlet: Grow closer to God, trust fully in Him, receive His full love and grace... by giving thanks for my grief? Giving thanks for the memories of you that still bring more tears than smiles? Seeing blessings instead of misfortunes?
Finding the joy in the everyday.
It sounds so simple, yet is so much more complex. Retraining myself to seek joy, to record the good, to completely change my perspective on my circumstances.
To fully let God in and work His magic in me.
It was difficult at first, but it is getting easier. I started that gratitude journal less than a month ago and am up to 142. It doesn't seem like a lot since 1000 is the goal, but like I said, it is a complex process.
And I am a work in progress.
Puppy kisses. Giggles from the backseat. Sunsets. Cardinals. Rainbows. Burgers and beer with Dad. Old photographs. Humor. Pie (because... pie). Freshly cut grass. Sand between my toes. Ice-cold Coca Cola. Back-to-school shopping. Movie dates. Nanny's biscuits. Girl time...
It really is the simple things that bring the greatest joy when we take the time to truly appreciate them.
I want to thank you for your spirit signs, comforting me when I need it most. Thank you for the songs, the synchronicities. Thank you for reassuring me that even though you aren't here, you aren't gone.
And I thank God, every time I remember you. Even when it hurts. Even when it's hard. Even when it's ugly.
Remember and give thanks... eucharisteo.
When there are more tears than words, I thank God.
I miss you every day. I think of you every day. I wish you were here every day.
And I thank God that He gave me you to be thankful for.
Happy 1-year anniversary in Heaven, Mom.
Love you forever,
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more." ~Melody Beattie