Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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Growing


My baby girl will be ten years old in less than two weeks. That is both wonderful and hard. That’s what poetry is for, right? 

Oh beautiful ache

that stretches with my children’s growing limbs

that curls around the need to hold them close as nursing babes

but sighs with painful joy to see them reaching out for life. 

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Waiting For An Earthquake

Like a fault-scarred landscape,

I’m braced against the tremor that foreshadows instability.

It matters not who made the scars.

not who is to blame.

It matters only that the shaking could –

whenever that inevitable lurch arrives –

take hold.

And then, oh then I fear the shaking will not stop until it’s broken all the fragile structures I have built upon the surface,

ways to hide the scars.

And if these decorative lies should crumble into dust,

what then?

What is my silent fear beyond the quake?

From that dark chasm deep within what do I fear?

From out the depths, do I believe will come some molten pain that could deform me even more?

Or

Is there life?

A spring of living water that – like Balm of Gilead – will soothe my soul and wash the faults away in blessed baptism of grace?

Because

if such a spring is there

won’t it be worth the shuddering wrench

to set it free?


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18 Years: On How Grief Changes

Today is my 18th death day.

Not literally, I suppose. The demise that annually intrudes on my consciousness is not my own, at least not in a physical or encompassing sense. My life has continued on since July 17, 1996 and it has been a good life, filled with far more joy than grief. But it has now been eighteen years since my Dad left forever — through his own choice — and that loss has been one of the single-most shaping experiences of my life.

Eighteen years seems like an eternity in some ways – nearly half my life. Occasionally, when people learn about his death and express sympathy it is easy to brush their consolations aside. “It’s been so long…” But that dismissal rejects one of the fundamental realities of grief:

Grief grows with the life that bears it.

I don’t mean that grief grows in weight or importance. Generally time does offer healing, and the sharp intensity of pain diminishes over time. But growth does not always mean increase; it can also mean adaptation. As I have changed in the eighteen years since my Dad’s death, my grief has changed as well. It would have to – the grief of a confused nineteen year old would no longer fit inside my soul; it would not line up with the curves and shading of my more fully adult perspective. It also would invalidate the impact of eighteen years of coping, the way that learning to live despite the hole in my heart has shaped the way I do that living.

So today, on my 18th death day,  I offer this reflection to my still-healing soul, and to any with whom it might resonate.

 


18th deathday

 

Eighteen years,

the age of maturation,

shift from child to adult.

The age society declare

for independence.

 

It has taken eighteen years,

oh, subtle irony,

for me to finally see

it is OK to say

“I need you.”