For the longest time, years in fact, grief was my constant companion and every waking moment a sucker punch to the gut, breath caught between teeth as I struggled with the “new normal” (oh, how I hate that term!) of not having you at my side. Oh how I miss hearing, “How’s everything down at the barn this morning?” or “Were your helpers good help today?” or the worst, “Thank you, love” for a simple cup of coffee.
Ours was a marriage built on the foundation of friendship, built on a foundation of mutual respect. When love did show up, it was solid, strong, unshakeable, true. I would have fought lions and tigers and bears for you but I was asked to fight doctors and interns (that one cheeky twit doesn’t know how close he came to being shipped home in complete and total disgrace). They soon found me a formidable foe who would not only go toe to toe but prevail because I was fighting for you, for us.
Sadie and Sam struggled as well but perhaps they understood better because they watched as you breathed your last. Then again, maybe not as Sam can’t bear it when I have to leave and it doesn’t matter if I’m going to the grocery store or on a trip. When I return, his joy is uncontainable with his voice becoming louder and louder as he dances on hind legs, rejoicing in his pack being together again. Sadie is happy as well but I think she’s happy because she knows treats are soon to be handed out. She’s an opportunist, that one.
It’s been fifteen months since moving to the new to me farm. It’s been seven years, today, since you died. Once, while at a wake you said, “Now begins a year of firsts.” You were wrong. It’s a lifetime of firsts and I wish I didn’t understand.
You’d like the new farm, especially the pond. Everyone says so. Everyone also says you’d be proud of me. I surely hope so. Like the old song, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” I’m so grateful to those Godly women gone before who showed me how to navigate strange waters.
God has been both good and faithful, protecting in ways known and unknown. The gift of travel you gave me has been used time and time again as I’ve continued to go, stretching myself, flexing my wings. God gave me the gift of contentment and I’ve even dipped into happiness although I find it to be a shallow pool.
As to joy. Well, joy is elusive (what is joy anyway?) but I have a small tinder of hope it may, one day, be mine. If not, that’s acceptable because I’ve been blessed so greatly, joy might have to displace something else. There’s nothing I would exchange but, then again, I would never have let you go had I been given a choice. Again and again I choose to trust God and accept His perfect, not permissive, will. He knows I struggle to do my best; I’m no competition.
On this anniversary of your Homegoing, thank you, over and over, for taking such good care of us. Of me and the animals. Thank you for being Provider and Protector. Thank you for making your peace with God. Thank you for the sure and certain knowledge you’re celebrating Our Father while doing your funny, hurky jerky dance around His throne. Truthfully, most days I’m in no hurry to join that great cloud of witnesses and I think, I hope, there’s much more God has for me to do. At any rate, my feet are planted firmly on the straight and narrow path and, in God’s sweet time, He’ll carry me Home.
For now, I’ll continue to enjoy this farm, our animals, my solitude and when someone came down the driveway and exclaimed, “You sure like your solitude, don’t you?!” My reply was, “Yes, I like people in small doses and at great distances.” If ever there were contemplatives, we were two, each in our own way. Life is, mostly, quietly good with contentment my warm shawl warding off the frostiness of a world gone mad. As always God is Provider and Protector, making the crooked path straight, giving His angels charge over me, over all of us on the farm. Missing you has gone from a constant worry to an old, even comfortable, longing and God broke the mold when He made you. Every morning day I put hands and feet to the day’s promises and Festina Lente has become my battle cry.
I miss you.