Sunday, February 17, 2013

Swimming in the Fog

This past year has been a rough one for me and my family.  It's been a year filled with sorrow, separation, and loss.  It began last May, with the death of my grandfather.  It continued into the fall with the death of my uncle.  As difficult as those were, however; the worst came with the decline and death of my mother less than a month after my uncle.  By then, it was September, and school was rolling strong.

After sludging my way through the fog of the funeral and the detritus the dead bequeath to the living (what should we do with Mom's lotion?  her footie socks?  her collection of salts?) and moving towards that joyous time of the year where we celebrate Christ's birth, we again experienced loss as my husband's grandmother passed beyond the cruel touch of Alzheimer's and infirmity into eternal life and rest.  And through it all, we homeschooled.

I would be lying if I were to say that I did all of this with strength and confidence.  There were some times where the books were left untouched and the science experiment waited for a better opportunity.  But through those moments, in the back of my heart and my mind, I knew my children were receiving the most valuable education of all.  They were being indoctrinated into the blessing of grief.  Of sorrow.  And at times, even of questioning.

Because what we did when those moments came is we came together.  We talked about loss.  We shared our memories.  We prayed for each other.  And my children learned about serving.  During those moments when I felt like I was swimming in the fog, and couldn't get my compass bearings for land, my husband and my children lifted me up and encouraged me.  They were my strength when I didn't have any strength left of my own.

We are mostly back up and running business as ususal.  The shore, while distant and blurry, is still visible, and my strokes are stronger.  I spent a long time this past week taking stock of our accomplishments and judging our pace, and while we have some work to do to get back up on schedule, I'm amazed and relieved to know that all in all we're doing just fine.  And when I look at the children, I know for a fact this is true.

Yes, this past year was a year of incredible sorrow, but through it all I have stood.  The losses we have faced, we have faced as a family, and we have been strengthened.  I have been strengthened.  I thank God for allowing me the blessing of this pain that I have experienced, because it comes as a result of deeply loved people and relationships.

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