6 years ago we lost lost my Grandpa Anderson to whom I was very, very close.
3 years ago we really and truly lost my mom to Alzheimer's.
1 year and 1 month ago, we lost our beautiful daughter Violet.
And today, we lost my uncle to brain cancer.
It doesn't feel real to say any of that out loud, let alone all together in a list like that. It feels like too much, as if it's too heavy to carry around. It's too sad, too hard, too everything to put into words.
My soul feels bruised, and badly, like a boxer after a prize fight.
I feel like a bird with a broken wing who is stunned at suddenly being grounded, confused by the pain, and terrified at its immobilization. It hops and jerks and spasms, desperately trying to escape a pain that actually radiates from somewhere deep within itself.
I remember once when I was very little my family took a trip to Lake Michigan and I was playing in the waves. It was summer and for some reason the waves were really strong that day and I was very small by comparison. I was playing a game with myself, jumping into the waves as they rolled in and knocked my down. One minute it was a joyful game of oneness with the water, and then suddenly the waves started to come faster and faster and harder and harder, knocking me down over and over again. I would try to get my legs under me, but just as I would start to stand up, another wave would knock me down again. I started to choke and sputter, fear clutching at me and making me panic. I hadn't yet learned to swim and terror clung to me, making me feel like I was all alone in this wide open water doing battle for air and purchase on the ground.
And then, suddenly, I was being plucked out of the water and held close by my dad. And it was all over. The fight was finished and I slumped against him, relief and tears rolling through and over me.
Today, I was sobbing so hard that I could hardly breathe let alone articulate what I was feeling to my husband who held and rocked me. I found myself silently patting my open palm against my chest, and realized that my heart was trying to speak with gestures what my mouth didn't yet have words for- it burns. It aches. It feels like a tearing in my soul. It feels like a giant is squeezing my heart. It feels like boiling water in my veins and sand in my mouth. It hurts with a hurting that there are no words to describe.
And so I just sobbed, letting my hands and salt water say what I couldn't.
And I'll wait. I'll pull away for awhile from structure and schedule in order to allow my breath to once again fill my lungs. I'll wait until I feel that warm hand grab me from the surf and cuddle me close the way I know my Heavenly Father does in times like this, with soft words and comforting embraces. I'll take some time to allow the burn to cool to a slow flame. I'll let my mind catch up to what my heart knows.
But for now, I hurt.
I hurt for my dad who has lost his best friend.
I hurt for my Aunt and cousins who have lost their husband, father, and confidant.
I hurt for my grandparents who have lost a son, because I know better than most that NO parent should have to bury a child, no matter the age.
I hurt for everyone who has lost, again, in our family.
I just ache.
And I wait for release.