As we neared Calgary yesterday, we found ourselves feeling heavier and sadder. We both wanted to be at home and we dreaded being here at the same time. And then to walk into our home...our empty home. Oh Rachel - I wish so much that I could see you sitting in your blue chair and watch you thump your legs up and down while you watched us unpack. I think I alternated between crying and steeling myself to do what had to be done all evening. It hurt so much to feel the emptiness, to see the feet and hand molds in the kitchen - to walk into the office where she died - to see her basinet and the things we still couldn't bear to part with. We had already thrown away the last of her milk, the prune juice, packed up her baby food, some of her diapers, threw her clothes into the box in the kid's closet, and each of these tasks a bitterly painful one. I remembered that one of her dirty bibs had fallen behind the chest freezer when I did laundry the morning she died. Dave had to dig it out before we left for Manitoba. Sometimes it is so hard to believe.....is Rachel really gone? I can't pick her up and hold her again? I know the time is coming when I will but it seems like an eternity away.
A dear friend of mine wrote what her 'coming home' was like. I couldn't read it last night because it hurt so very much. But I read it this morning. I hope it's ok if I share it here. It helps me to understand her journey a little better now, having had to walk into our home last night. And I can relate to her feelings - of relief at finally finding some sleep, and the jolt of remembering when I wake up. I am comforted to know that this will not last forever too - that this grief will change too.
Little Bits of Grief
This morning we (all four of us) walked Ethan to Kindergarten. He's missed a few days and he will likely miss a lot more days between now and January. The school is very understanding and after all, it is just kindergarten. I think it will be good for Ethan to go for awhile though. But it was hard to wait in the playground for the line-up and even harder to see one of the moms I know from playschool look at me, even wave, but not even try to come ask me about Rachel. I know they want to know where she is, but they are afraid to ask me themselves. And then to walk home with Abigail who was so sad about not getting to go with her brother. I am so thankful for these two children of ours who keep us moving with their own needs, and laughing at their antics....but our family seems so small now.
I started reading one of Dave's books on the trip home. It's called "Yearning - Living Between How it is and How it Ought to be" by M.Craig Barnes. Do you know it? I really liked what I read. I found his raw honesty so comforting. Here's a bit that caught my attention...
"Grace can be demanding. As a pastor, I am struck by how seldom we recognize grace when it shows up. That is usually because it rides into our lives upon a vehicle that will take us to places we'd rather not go. We are sure it will lead us to our death. Turns out it is the way to salvation. By definition, grace is a gift. As Dietrech Bonhoeffer reminds us, however, it is not a cheap gift. Once it has hold of our life, it is relentless in it's demand that everything be changed. It was the call of God's grace that led Abraham and Sarah away from their home toward the promise of a new land. it was grace that invited the disciples to drop their nets and follow Jesus, and it was grace that knocked Paul off the course of his effort to become a great Pharisee. Certainly no one in Scripture earned grace. It seems that nobody even asked for it. It did save their lives, but that salvation never looked like what they'd had in mind....."