Tuesday, June 3, 2014


In my "after" Zella still plays soccer.

Life goes on. It’s a hard realization to swallow, but true. No matter how important, how loved, how gifted, how admired a person is, when they leave this world, while the sun and moon may flicker and countless tears puddle into an ocean, a day will come when life must get on with it. For the one who has lost, that day comes much too soon. Pushed, pulled and prodded, we are coaxed back through the fog to a place where car horns still honk, bills still accumulate, and grass must be mowed.
In my "after" hostas reappear...
My before life was lovely, lively, and will be forever cherished. My after life is an obstacle course, a heart thumping time of high jumps, rope climbing, and falling flat on my face. At first, the best thing I could say about it is that it kept me busy chasing my own tail. Staying busy was my salvation during those first excruciating months.
I am slowly realizing that the after is all I’ve got now, and I am confronted with the hardest choice I’ll ever have to make: Should I allow my after to dig my grave, or should I hold it up by its feet, slap it rudely on its behind and wish it God’s speed.
I’m painstakingly choosing the latter. But how do I start? What do I throw out, what do I keep? What are my dreams now? Am I allowed to dream them alone? Who am I without my soul mate, my partner? Who do my friends think I am? Are my friends still my friends? Do I travel? Do I stay put? I have an uneasy feeling that my after has a gangly twin named what now?
I can’t see my future clearly and hopefully no one expects me to at this point. I am a woman who has been sealed into a plastic bag. I can’t breathe, or see, or move very well, but somehow I’m supposed to get on with it and make a new life. Will I ever be able to poke holes in this suffocating bubble?
... and fern unfurl their wings.
I hope so. I think so. Lately, I feel I have tumbled forward a little bit. The pain isn’t that searing flash anymore, but it has left a whopper of a blister that gives me fits. The fact that life moves on must play a part in the mourning and the healing, don’t you think? How sad it would be if with every death something in nature forgets to bud. Or, when someone dies, children stop playing. Or, when we mourn, the birds no longer sing. What a horrible after that would make. I fear we’d never, ever recover.
I sit alone and strain to hear the sounds around me. They are far away, but I hear enough to convince me there is movement out there. Yesterday, I walked out on my deck and was surprised by the sweet smell of lilacs. The fragrance gently broke through my sorrow and coaxed me a little closer to ... what?
In my "after" lilacs will fill the air...
After is now where I live. My days and times are in God’s holy hands. They were before, however, I shamefully admit I didn’t notice it as much.  I’m convinced my Master has a plan. I will try not to whine. I will try to  be brave. And, I’ll try my best to allow God to lead. When I fail at all of the above (and I will), I’ll go sniff a rose, or dip my toes in the pond, or go climb on the John Deere and become one with the grass. What else can I do? This is what after is all about.
... and Josh will still sneak selfies on my phone.

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