This neglected blog has taken the brunt of my inattention over the last month. I don’t have much brain power these days due to grief and the way a terminally ill family member reorients and refocuses one’s attention on only the most vital things.
I am not kidding when I say I struggle to link words together into sentences. I do have fleeting writing ideas, but it’s usually when I am driving, and they’ve evaporated by the time I have a second to write them down.
It may be a short list, and it may be somewhat incoherent, but here are a few things I’ve realized through the process of helping my parents, alongside my sisters, recently:
- Life is short. Except for the periods when it’s suuuuuper long (this happens in the hard parts, imho). It wasn’t that long ago that I gave birth to my first squalling ginger baby. And yet it’s been sixteen years since that time. Both he and I have changed a great deal. And in those intervening years, my parents went from healthy and vigorous empty-nesters to involved grandparents to seniors coping with a wild number of health issues. This leads me to my next point, which is that…
- It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that everything will always be the way it is right now. Maybe it’s human nature. Maybe it’s just me. But I have done this during every phase of my life, forgetting each time that the tableau I’m living in right now is fleeting. It just is. It makes me want to capture the beauty of the now. It also makes me want to turn with my whole self to the promise of eternal things. I’m not kidding. When you begin to see how nothing lasts except for our spirits, God becomes your best friend.
- Change is a true constant of life on earth. Welcome to the concept of entropy. This year has featured Jack leaving our home for residential care, me turning 40, my whole extended family taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii, our 20th wedding anniversary, a breast cancer scare, my eldest child getting his driver’s license (and the independence it entails), and my dad’s robust life drawing to a close. It’s been a lot, of both brutal and just plain amazing. Through all of it, I feel unjustly peaceful and comforted. I’m so variable and inconsistent and irritable. I don’t deserve it, and yet I’m on the receiving end of a divine support system. I attribute this 100% to Jesus taking care of me in my afflictions, and also in my joys. I have been and I still am leaning on his strength, and he continues to send me both help and bounty.
- There are seasons of sadness and seasons of happiness, and sometimes the seasons overlap.
- Christmastime will never not be nostalgic, magical, and a little bit sad for me. The people I love, the people I miss, the person I used to be and the one I am now—we’re all wrapped up together in this bittersweet, tender, and beautiful season. This is when the lights on the Christmas tree get blurry because my eyes are weepy.