Why is it that grief sneaks up and grabs me when I least expect it? Twice in the past couple of weeks I've bumped into folks who've offered condolences about my sister's death and I feel...hurt. Hurt like a bruise that is deep and purple. Wounded. Part of me, lost. My family missing an element. Surprised by choked throat and tears that I struggle to keep back. I try to be valiant and answer the pre-requisite questions as I struggle to be "just fine" when I'd sorely love to allow myself the luxury of reduction and become a big bawl baby.
Someone wrote recently that middle-age is a time of loss. Funerals replace baby showers and children leave home. Necessary losses, for sure, but not always welcome. We watch and listen and advise our oldest daughter and her beau as they consider a life-long relationship and all that entails and reflect on the choices that we made when we were her age. If we could only have seen ten years ahead and the challenges that we would have faced. Would we have chosen differently? Would we have been more cautious, more daring, more, less, different than we were?
Each cross road demands a decision. Forward, left, right or backwards and then deal. Consequences will come from both our action and inaction. I consider where to go from here. Having a sibling, 12 months my senior, just not get out of bed one morning, puts my own numbered days into perspective. Dreaming and value. Time becomes a commodity and the wrestling match between dreams and what I have in my hand become almost tangible. And frankly, I feel tired. Less creative. Less like explaining. Less like being open and working hard. Cause I feel hammered. And I wish that I didn't. Wish that I had the energy people surprisingly see in me. Wish that the frustration between high hopes and reality was less dramatic and obvious. Dross burned off, literally and figuratively, and I'm hoping this means that God's purpose is becoming more refined in my life. Some days, though, I'm still smelling smoke and feeling the pain of the burn; living sacrifice. It sounds too dramatic but sums up how I feel, not all days, and often when I least expect it. Surprised by loss.