Monday, January 4, 2016

Embracing the Whoa

I am changing my word for 2016 because of the way the last days of 2015 changed me.

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On December 17th, we got the call. It came unexpectedly and contained two words we were shocked to hear: "active dying". It is here, we said. Here, through sloppy, bittersweet tears. For this day, we so tirelessly prayed, and here it is so suddenly. Here it is dropped on our heads and holidays like an anvil.

Three days of rare sleep, nervous bellies, caffeine jitters, and tearful good-byes came to a peaceful, glorious close in the early morning hours of December 20th. It was just as he'd have asked, just how He planned, just what we needed. The details are still blurry, but beautiful. Sacred and special, something that will one day pour forth.

He died as the sun rose, as we transitioned from night to day. Those blessed twilight hours granted us a gentle, kind light after another night of nervous darkness. Rain danced down the closed window of his room. His hands were held, head rubbed, words passed. And then there, in that room He closed our book on dementia. There in the bottom floor of a kind facility, He said it is done.

We gathered together, cried, embraced while he was welcomed, a good and faithful servant received Home. The kind of party that awaited him, I can only imagine. And us there -two blonde women, small and sad- celebrated his release from the throes of one of life's most terrible diseases. The juxtaposition brings me to my God-loving knees in thanks.

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This is a tale I'm thankful has ended. It's last pieces are wrapping up tight and safe around our souls. There has been much sadness as we work through the last bits of losing him; a process so arduous we didn't know the weight we've bared for the last seven years.

In our grief, we look to one another and see provision. We see the way He shows up, gives much, and asks for naught. We glance around the room and celebrate the way done feels so sure, so peaceful, so good.

We miss him. We will miss him always. But he's now preparing a place for us in His presence and that peace is grand. He's joined those who went before him -the shocking deaths and the sure ones. And we know he's there, planning tricks and making messes just as he did here.

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In those three last days, as details and hurdles unfolded before us, I found myself saying whoa. Laps walked, tears shed, tissues crumpled, coffees consumed in a state of constant wonder. Because when it's hard and it hurts and it's scary, we revel. And, as the last bits of my loss heal, I worry the wonder will dissipate. So, whoa.

My word is whoa.

Because our story continues despite the story of my dad being closed. His tale, beloved and dear, sits wrapped tight and safe, on Hand-bound pages between pieces of cognac leather, secured by a beautiful chord. Mine, raw and wild, and mostly blank, waits for the next words to write.

Whoa, this story of mine.

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