Sunday, October 23, 2016

On the weather, Sandra McCracken, and remembering

As we approach Hannah's birthday, I'm in that time of year of intense remembering. Remembering what our lives were like five years ago and how innocent we were. Remembering how much has changed since then and where God has brought us. Some days this remembering is subtle. And then there are days like last Thursday.

One of the most prominent memories this time of year is the weather. There is a certain perfect fall day that is very reminiscent of the first week of November, 2011. The sky is absolutely clear, the temperature is cool enough to need a jacket, but we're all in denial that winter is coming and likely refuse that extra layer, and the sun is intense and beautiful. Last Thursday was exactly that--amazingly crisp and clear and just lovely. The kids and I met some friends for lunch and ran a few errands, and I welcomed the cool reminders on my face. I remember how weird it felt that November 3, 2011 was such a beautiful day. Didn't the world know the news we'd just gotten? Didn't it care that there was nothing beautiful about our life that day? I woke up the morning of November 4th to more of the same--headed to the hospital under the clear, blue, sunny sky. And November 5th, the sun came up outside our hospital room as we held our dear, tiny daughter. We drove home, empty-handed, with the heat on in the car. Because, well, no jackets. So when these fall days threaten to steal my joy and bring me back to a place of bitter pain, I don't let them. I live for the reminders that Hannah was a part of our lives.

On Thursday night, Dan and I went to an All Sons and Daughters concert at Open Door. The opening act was their friend Sandra McCracken. I knew I'd heard of Sandra before, but I didn't think I'd recognize anything. And I didn't--not any particular song, anyway. But as soon as she began to sing, her very distinct voice transported me, again, to 2011. I knew right away that she'd sung a song with Indelible Grace, one of a handful of songs my cousin had sent me after Hannah died. It was a song that I listened to multiple times a day for many months. "Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul" is a perfectly honest hymn of grief. It was exactly the song I needed in those first days (and weeks and months), when I wasn't yet ready to say "It is well with my soul."

Thy mercy seat is open still
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend thy will
And wait beneath thy feet

Oh, how grief sneaks in when we're not expecting it. And even sometimes when we are. I know it's inevitable in these next couple weeks. And I welcome the memories.

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 15th

October is "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness" month, with October 15th set aside as the specific awareness day.

This day feels different every year. But no matter how many years pass, it will always be significant. Hannah and Charlie will always be a part of our family. And although grief is forever changing, I am honored to speak their names and remember their brief lives.

"When a child loses his parent, he is called an orphan. When a spouse loses her partner, she is called a widow. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world."
-Ronald Reagan, October 1988

Friday, October 07, 2016

Together is better

It's Friday. Which means I am simultaneously reminiscing about this past Tuesday and counting the days until next Tuesday.

You see, Tuesdays are kind of a big deal around here lately.

It started innocently enough. I told a friend that I was going to bring him and his roommates dinner, and we planned a date for that to happen. And then, a few days prior, I re-noticed a verse hanging on the wall in my dining room.

Truth be told, I bought this about 7 months ago because it was pretty and it talked about eating so it worked well for a dining room. (I know--I'm super deep and spiritual). The more I thought about it and talked to Dan about it, the more I felt like I wanted to be people who actually DO that, not just people who have a Bible verse ABOUT that on their wall. So I told my friend, in so many words, "Change in plans! I'll still feed you, but you should come to our house for dinner." And they did.

The first week, it was our friend and two of his roommates. The next week, it increased by three--the fourth roommate, plus two more friends. And the next two weeks brought two more friends to our increasingly cozy table.

And now Tuesdays are totally our favorite part of the week! We eat and drink and laugh so hard we cry. It's kind of an indescribably beautiful thing.

And my kids? They're in their glory. :)

These people, most of whom were strangers just a few weeks ago, are now some of the dearest people to me. And we're only a month in! Just imagine the shenanigans that lie ahead!

Love you, friends! See you in four days. ;)