Unexpected Loss

We took turns crying as we grieved. At times, we sank into normalcy, watching a funny show and laughing on the couch. In other moments, we gave ourselves space, retreating familiar places. As I walked Target aisles aimlessly for hours, my man swung out his sadness at the golf range, each motion wringing out another drop. Then in the sacred moments, the bittersweet times that make life hauntingly beautiful, we sat side by side spilling out our ache. Occasionally silent, more often filled with words, these moments were gold. Refined by fire, our conversations were deep and raw bringing us closer than ever before. This is where marriage is forged, not in the good but in the trenches.

 

It was a loss we weren't expecting. But as the loss has washed over our home it has distilled us down to a stronger and more united couple. We carry each other. We give room for big emotions and honest prayers. There are countless things we get wrong in our marriage but this loss feels like something we got right. 

The past few days have taught me so much. Loss is a sifter, showing what relationships stand through it all. It's a waiting game, passing time as you come to terms with a new reality. Loss makes you homesick. I've spent my nights in a hammock under twinkle lights and warped oak trees, a glass of red wine in hand. As I've swayed, Elvis has played quietly through speakers, anchoring me back to my childhood. The ache I feel isn't necessarily for our family home, although I do miss it greatly, but more for the times when I was younger before this was even a possibility.  So we have watched our relationships strain through a sieve bringing the purest to the top. We have watched the clock as we allow time to heal. We have allowed ourselves to remember childhood antics and family memories.

But most of all, we have stayed right here in the present, soaking up every bittersweet moment. This feels like something I want to remember, to crystallize in my mind.  I don't want to forget a second of it, the phone calls, the tears, the joy, the pain, it all feels so sacred and dear. Because this trench has brought out strength we never knew. It has forced us to grab a hold of faith like a man clenching a rope in quicksand. The trench has brought out the best in our family and friends and it has demanded we accept comfort. The present, although sometimes painful, has been the best place to be. 

Our holidays will look a little different than we expected. Perhaps yours will too. I'm realizing that part of growing older means noticing not just who came to Thanksgiving but who isn't there. We carry the people we lost as we embrace the people we can. It's a lesson my husband has tried to explain to me over the years. Slowly, I'm beginning to understand what he means. 

So on Thanksgiving, I will sink deep into hugs from the people who are there. At our Friendsgiving celebration, I will grip the hands of friends who have weathered the storm side by side. While there may be some grief, I will keep my soul firmly planted in the now because it is here where the healing begins.

Amidst pumpkin pies and trenches, we are being refined.

And that is something to be truly grateful for.