May 23, 2013

Grief and Rain and Clouds and Rest

As I sit here in our new home in Portland (yay), I feel solemn. The clouds and rain may have something to do with it. Or my female hormones. Or just the general heaviness that accompanies life. Here's what is on my mind:

  • The Oklahoma Tornado: What a devastating event. I don't even have words to describe how I feel. All I can say is that the power and force behind nature is completely astounding.

  • This Whirlwind of a Year: It is strange to be able to sit in peace and quiet in my own house. Almost one year ago, Andrew and I gave up the concept of "home" and decided to embark on an adventure that many would only dream of. And while, in retrospect, it does indeed seem like a dream even to me, I will say as I always have said: As much as we are thankful for the great time and the ability and means to travel, backpack Europe, and make London home, it was work, it was sacrifice, it was exhausting. And even though we arrived in the states more than two months ago, we have been on the road and haven't been able to fully sit still. To relax. To be silent. To rest. So in this moment I am thankful for things which I was rarely able to have while traveling and things which many of us take for granted every day. I am thankful for

the privilege to have my own space
the time to rest
the means to communicate easily with loved ones
the ability to have an income
a cupboard full of food
a closet (no more suitcase) full of freshly-washed clothes
my own, clean, bed.

  • In Memory of Daniel Mast: Another life cut way too short. Recently, I learned that a high school classmate was killed in a construction accident, leaving behind a pregnant wife (another classmate) and two young kiddos. Even though we were out of touch, the memories of him seem like yesterday. My heart goes out to his family. How will they go on? Especially in these next few weeks? How is it possible to move on? How is it possible to not equate each new death with those we have lost in the past... once again scratching open a wound that was almost healed? Death is insane. Death is incomprehensible. Frankly, I'm not sure how anyone can truly get over losing someone. I don't think it is possible. I think you just find ways to distract yourself from the grief.

If you are like me and have ever lost someone you loved, let me just state what very few folks will admit: You don't ever have to get over the loss. Don't. Embrace the grief. Talk about it. Let it guide you into fully appreciating this precious thing we call life. Let it show you [us] the true meaning of breath. Let it deepen our relationships. Let it show us what it means to love others unconditionally.

It was my intention, initially, to have a quick paragraph honoring Dan, and then to share highlights of our great month in Colorado Springs. But I believe I will save that for another day and leave you with this:

Never stop grieving.

With hope.
With love.

For more on Dan and for information on how to help his family during this time, go here.

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