So often in the past couple of weeks I've had people comment in response to the house, "At least you all got out alive" and in response to the death of my sister, "At least she died peacefully." I am grateful for these things. Totally grateful. But honestly, in side, I am on spin cycle. My life is topsy turvey, upside down and backwards. The fire has been the most disruptive on-going event in my entire life. I can't even fathom the possibility of having someone die in the fire so I'm not going there emotionally. All I know is I feel overwhelmed, uncreative, at the end of my emotional resources, short tempered, and restless.
And I can't even tell you how grateful I am that my sister died peacefully, but darn that, she was 48 for pete's sake. I am caught off guard, frequently, by profound grief. I want to bend over and wail and mourn and lament. It's not that we were so "close." It's that we had a relationship that was for life and now her life here is gone. I could count on Sue. I could count on her to be available, to be generous, to be accepting, to understand goofy, stupid references and laugh out loud and long with me, to share my history, to love my kids, to befriend my husband. And I could also count on her to be bossy, opinionated, strong-willed and down-right b*tchy. It didn't matter. When push came to shove, she was my big sis and that was that. We'd been through enough of each others crap in life to see the dross in living, muddy color and to be dazzled by the gold. I don't want her to be gone. I don't want to have this profound sense of loss and hurt in my heart. I don't want things to be tospy-turvy and me to be short tempered and irritated. And I don't want to be so petty that I am grieving over things that were thrown away. I want to be bigger than that. To be full of grace in difficult circumstances, to be full of gratitude that no one died in the fire and that Sue died peacefully. I am grateful, but the gratitude feels crowded out by this feeling of intense sorrow.
We are certainly a grief denying culture, but I can't deny the grief I have. I know, truly, that "things" will work out. That we'll look back on this year and rejoice in all of the many ways God scooped us up and carried us. But for now, the loss just hurts.