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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Grace and Perspective

Addison Roads', "Grace," is a beautiful song about perspective and the catalyst grace serves to move you forward. The lyrics poetically portray the juxtaposition experienced when we see something from our past. In the song, it's the home the songwriter grew up in. For me, it's more auditory than visual. Over the past few weeks, I've heard "Merry Christmas, Darling" by the Carpenters on the radio. My mind always fractures. Part of me is back in 1978. It's Christmas morning. The house smells of ham and cookies and cinnamon. My mom is in the kitchen getting ready for our entire extended family while my brothers and I play with the goodies left by Santa.

The other part of me smarts at the pain of my Mom's death in August. When I was in my 20's and heard "Merry Christmas, Darling," it made me smile. Reminded me that I would soon be home with my family for the holidays. Now, it's a painful reminder of all the Christmases my Mom lost to her dementia and will never experience. Christmas mornings filled with children's laughter as they open their gifts. Stories and smiles over coffee. The lazy comfort of simply being together with no where to go and nothing to do.

In the past few months as I've worked through the conflicting  emotions of my Mom's death--sadness, relief that she's at peace, joy at knowing she's finally home--it feels as though things have moved so quickly. Like I'm on one of those moving sidewalks in the airport. She was sick for so long and now she's gone. The piece of me that desperately clung to her memory as she devolved into her disease let go. Because she won't get sicker. I won't wake up everyday waiting to hear if today was the day. Knowing she is at peace makes me at peace. But after fifteen years of losing a bit of her every day, the suddenness of her death feels like an abrupt ending. Like a novel you've been reading that just stops. The road you've been racing down just ends. It causes a kind of disorientation. When such a large part of your emotional every day is gone, the void feels like both a gift and an emptiness.

So there is Grace. Webster's has two definitions. The first defines it simply as a way of moving that is smooth. The second defines it as unmerited divine assistance given to people for their regeneration. To me, the two definitions aren't independent, but extensions of one another. Getting through tough times in a way that actually moves you forward and does so in a fluid way requires divine assistance. My family has experienced much pain. The loss of my Mom, the loss of my brother, the loss of my daughter. Oftentimes, crossing the bridge from today to tomorrow seems daunting. But I will do it. Because of Grace. I will merge my fractured mind and move forward embracing every memory and everyday.

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