Its an early Friday morning and I wish I could press fast forward and skip the emotions that I know are coming my way. I feel like the day is going to take me and probably kicking and screaming (inside).
I’ve planned every detail, lined up a new babysitter to help us, said yes to my mom’s offer to help and packed snacks and lunch. I wake them up early and we get on the road. It’s not like we haven’t done the drive before, the one to Grammy and Grampy’s.
But we haven’t done it enough. And that’s the reality that grinding into my heart. Though it isn’t really sudden, more like a year in the making since Grampy didn’t come home from hunting last January, it feels like it came out of no where.
As we make the hour-long drive, Rylee asks out of the blue “Why didn’t we ever walk on the trail with Grammy and Grampy? You know, the one that goes behind their house?”. I can almost hear my own heart break and wait to speak until I can trust that my voice will work.
“We didn’t ever find a time – it never worked out. We figured we’d do it eventually but then…” My words trail off and choke out because I can’t find the right ones and there are no words just tears. Silent ones as I hold it together while the babysitter sits next to me in the van and probably wonders what on earth I’m talking about.
Grammy moved across the country last week. The house is bare and empty when I walk in alone to feed baby Finn. Its a shell that used to hold our family. Our memories. I sit on the carpet and snuggle the only baby we’ve had that he never met, never kissed, never held.
And now all I see is how the walls are white and I never noticed that before. A view of the mountain that I swear I hadn’t fully taken in until today. More trees for boy climbing than I remember.
We sort through the last loads of belongings and put them all where they need to go. Kids find treasures, climb trees and go for a walk. I just keep breathing. Until I find something that takes my breath away, which happens more than once. Is he really gone? Do we really not get another chance to talk, to laugh, to eat, to love?
We don’t. And the sting of death, of loss and of I-wish-we-would-have________, presses hard on my heart and I literally feel like I’m gasping for air. I was sure we had dozens more Christmas Eve’s to spend there drinking endless sparkling cider and sharing gifts. But this December someone else will live there and make those memories with their own family. And ours will be spread out over a couple thousand miles.
Pat phrases and empty lines don’t seem to really cut it. Chin up, press on, don’t waste your time looking back. Can’t change the past. Only thing you can change is the future. Make the most of today. While they may be true, they don’t fill in the empty places.
I know its not lovely to say, but sometimes I think we’re supposed to hurt. We’re supposed to look back and grieve that we didn’t do something just right. That we missed a chance to love. It’s the hurt that changes our today. We get another chance today to do life just a bit different even if we can’t go back and make yesterday better.
It truly is utterly beautiful the way it works. God is so good, inherently, completely good in the way he orchestrates all of life. But there are days like my Friday that force me to look hard for that truth. And I think that’s okay.
It’s been hard to keep counting. But even if the list is small, I’m still trying…
#473 – beautiful berries
#474 – the privilege of carrying someone else’s burden
#475 – rain and water and green everywhere…even though its supposed to be summer
#476 – today