― Kahlil Gibran
I have been over it dozens of times. In my head at least. Repeating words and sentences. Over. And over. And over again. Grappling for the perfect words. Because this, this deserves perfect. But in the end, I have come to realize, there are no perfect words. In fact, there are no words at all. None at least that make sense. None that certainly do justice to a life. A precious, innocent and far too brief of a life.
So I say it. Or rather write it. From my heart. A sometimes worn and a somewhat broken, heart. And once again I bear witness to the unmistakable fact that there is indeed vast and undeniable beauty that dwells alongside utter and complete suffering and sadness. I also stand steadfast in my personal belief that without a faith that tells me that this life, this earthly life, is merely a station, a waiting place, that without that knowledge, I would not survive. I mean my physical body would go on but my spirit, my soul, would be barren. I don't know much these days but that much I am certain of.
The other thing I know, without a shadow of a doubt, is how simply amazing my children are. Each and everyone of them. They are the very best part of me. The very, very best. They all have seen so much over the last 6 years. Even the little guys. And still, they persevere and they exude joy and they strive do good works in this world. Each and everyday they teach me something about living. They have witnessed things in this life that most parents try desperately to shield their children from. But my children have been immersed in looming tragedy, real loss and still, miraculously, they emerge better. How can that be?
And then, 6 weeks ago, a phone call. An early morning, bring you to your knees, kind of phone call. Life changed on a dime. Again. The unimaginable.
6 weeks ago, Caitlin and Danny welcomed their second daughter, Grace Margaret into this life. She arrived oh so perfect and beautiful. 2 days before her due date. 8 pounds 3 ounces. And for reasons we will never understand nor reconcile with, at least in this lifetime, she entered this world sleeping and already in the arms of God.
And that last part, "in the arms of God", that part is the part we cling too. And my daughter and my son in-law, they exemplify grace and dignity during the most unspeakable of times. And that statement, "grace and dignity", those words I nearly choked on each and everytime I spoke them in the first few days when describing how they were weathering their moments. For you see, "grace" wasn't just a word anymore. 'GRACE ', was now my granddaughter. But today, I am able to speak those words with much more strength and conviction then before. Because now Caitlin and Danny indeed walk this life "with GRACE and dignity". For she will always be with them. Always.
I never imagined that I would ever kiss my granddaughter hello and goodbye, all in the same breath. Who would ever imagine such a thing? But I did. And I was honored and privileged and beyond heartbroken, to do so.
I believe God cried right along with us 6 weeks ago. He simply must have. I also believe, He was right there beside Gracie that day as well. And although we truly believe that the best place for Grace to be right now, is in her parents loving arms, we also imagine that the arms she is in right now are enfolding her in a love that transcends anything we could possibly know.
We are all finding our way once again. We seem to have gotten good at that. I wonder perhaps, on somedays, when I hear people utter the absurd ,"that God only gives you what you can handle", that maybe I should have curled up into a ball a long time ago. Cried uncle. Sent my memo to the universe. Something. But then again, what good would that have done? That's not how this life works. And, as to "our fair share", well maybe, but life doesn't work that way either. You are not doled out an allotted amount of trial and tragedy and then suddenly some switch gets flipped, voila, and then enough is enough. Not that simple. Wish it were.
We use to over simplify our life with Zoey by using our patent humor and repeat the words of my niece spoken several years ago one Christmas morning: " You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". These days we have changed it up and we say, " You get what you get and its what you DO with it that counts".
Today we choose to do it with faith and hope and most of all ... we choose to do it with GRACE.