They were my first successful carrot crop ever. They were tender and sweet and delicious. Fresh and new, a source of life given to nourish our bodies, while on this same day a special life had ended. It all dawned on me, how ironic it was, as I stood there, bare feet on the old kitchen tile, washing the earth from each root. Feeling tired and sad, distracted by the news I received a few hours earlier and consumed with the weight of a heart that was heavy with the loss of so many family members in the past couple of years, I peeled and chopped, and put into the pan those little nourishing carrots. My eyes welling from moment to moment, but holding strong as to not spill over even once as I stood there, my busy hands barely holding back the sadness.
I talked to God and tried to reflect on all the good times with each of these lost loved ones that I was blessed enough to call my family. They were the older generation, mostly my grandmother's siblings, and one beloved aunt, my father's sister. Some passed into eternity as expected, some at a much more rapid pace, and some so suddenly and unexpectedly that it made me sick. My heart hurts for the ones left behind, the ones with so much sorrow to bear.
I think about eternity a lot lately. I think about my husband and I getting older, my parents getting older, my children becoming so much more independent and how life is in a constant state of change. The days seem to string along at a monotonous pace, but when I stop and look back over just a short period of time I can see how the days, in fact, change continuously. Life really is all about change and learning to adapt to those changes. The older we become, the more change affects us and we notice all the details of that change with our wiser eyes. We feel more, we love more deeply, and loss hurts. Period.
I also think about how blessed I am that my loss hasn't been more devastating and how incredibly fortunate that makes me. I try to take each moment as it comes, making each one count. I try to look at loss as part of God's plan, part of my very own story. Each love, each loss, each soul, each ache, earning a distinct part in my very own story of life. Some chapters take twists and turns, others are as steady as the sunrise. But all of those perfectly lovely, bruised and broken pieces are what make a story beautiful. Those are the parts that make life an incredible, messy, spectacular ride and I can only count them all as blessings. I'm just glad that I was blessed enough to be entwined in their stories as well, and I hope that they each can count me as a blessing to them at some point along the way to their soul's next beautiful chapter.
The night did not end without tears spilling out onto my dark, quiet pillow and my heart finding its release. My heavy thoughts drifting into dreams, then awakening to a new day, a new page in my own story. I intend to write the rest of my story as well as I possibly can. And, I look forward to my reunion with all the beautiful souls who have gone on before me.