Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giving Thanks

It's never too late to give thanks. On the morning of Thanksgiving, we ended up at home. A day earlier I had been thinking our trip to my parents might be cancelled. Liam was feeling sick, and Maeve had thrown up in the night. Strangely, and fortunately, everyone rallied. By noontime on Wednesday they were climbing the walls, and when Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and clear, everyone was up and cheerful. This extra window of time at home (we would have left Wednesday afternoon, otherwise) allowed Greg to cross paths with his brother, who was coming to town to have dinner with his parents while we joined my sisters in New Hampshire. H took the kids over for a visit in the morning while I stayed home and cooked myself and Maeve a variety of dairy-free Thanksgiving alternatives so as not to trouble my mother.
Home alone, I had this clear, clear thought, all of the sudden that morning: I'm just so thankful that I survived losing Charlotte, so I could experience all of this. Suddenly I felt as if I had been saved, even though I knew that the person who had saved me was actually myself. For a flicker, I could remember how fast and how painfully I was sinking for a while, how deep the pit seemed to be that surrounded me as I wallowed in the well of my grief. I used to have visuals every single day of myself, down in a shaft with earthen walls, clamoring at the walls but only feeling the dirt pushing higher and higher under my fingernails as I tried, to no avail, to move upwards. I knew with such certainty then that I would be very, very sad for the rest of my life.
What I didn't know was how a person could also be very, very happy at the same time. I didn't know that joy could move in and sit right next to pain, that they could share the same bowl and drink from the same cup very peacefully. I never imagined that while the stark fact of Charlotte's loss would never seem less tragic and awful, that I would be able to carefully package up the details of my pain so that I only felt them when I wanted to. I didn't know how happy my new children would make me. In the beginning, I thought I only wanted Charlotte.
I still can't believe I survived losing her, but I'm very, very glad I did. What my four living children offer me now is indescribable. I never want this part of my life to end. I am truly, gloriously, happy.

1 comment:

Hope's Mama said...

If you only ever post once a year from here on in, and it is a post like this, then I'll be very happy.
This is why I keep coming back here, and this describes quite perfectly why you are such a beacon in my life, even if we don't chat as much as we did.
Love to you and your entire, glorious family.