Sunday, April 27, 2008

Deep joy in the midst of sadness

"I know you are hurting deeply, but I have never seen you this happy either. You seem so alive."

B said this to me Friday during my time with her and C. And what B reflected to me is what has been stirring deep within me. The moment that we learned Cara had died, the veil through which I was viewing the world ripped in half, much like the curtain in the temple tore the day Christ died. A lightning bolt struck my heart and ignited a flame within it. Sometimes it burns angrily, other times it burns with love. The point is it's burning.

I am not a snuggler by nature, but Tim and I have cleaved to each other during this time. The night after I gave birth to Cara, after we had said good-bye, we both attempted to sleep as best we could. At one point, I had Tim crawl in the hospital bed and just hold me in the hopes that I would fall back asleep. The rest of the week, I awoke in the middle of the night and made my way into his arms. I needed my husband in a way I had never needed him before and he likewise.

The day after we returned from the hospital, Tim and I met with our counselor for the first time. Our initial intent was to process grieving Cara. However I said to him in our first meeting, we also want to strengthen our marriage and deal some of the junk that has found its way into our daily lives. The past two weeks we have finally be able to do that and what a blessing! Tim and I are learning how to communicate better and are in the process of discovering more about ourselves and each other. We have grown intimately in our love and appreciation for each other.

I am also not a crier by nature, but losing Cara struck a cord so deep within me, that I have cried every day for the last six weeks. My ability to feel happiness, sadness, excitement, grief have all been magnified. While I grieve life without Cara, I rejoice that I now have this richness only her death could have brought. We can not remain the same people that we were before.

We now embrace the beauty of everything around us. We desire to know more about everything. We are hoping to take classes to learn the things we always wanted to learn - photography, flower arranging, dance (ok, so that's mostly my list!). We got a book on birds from the library and can now identify all the birds who frequent our backyard (and entertain the cats.) There are cardinals, doves, robins, House finches, American gold finches, Brown headed cow birds, and White Crown Sparrows. We also have the garden to remind us of Cara, and we marvel at its beauty. All this to say, we desire to embrace the fullness of creation and enjoy it as much as possible.

So yes, B is absolutely right. I can now appreciate everything in my life that I did not fully embrace. I thought I was living my life to the fullest but come to find out there is so much more.

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