I will remember October, 2011 with a lump in my throat and so much sadness.
Late on the evening of October 6, we received a call that one of Daniel’s cousins had passed away. A continent away, alone in a park in the early morning hours, he chose to go. Someone, somewhere may know why. We don’t. I doubt we ever will. He was handsome and gregarious and musical and kind. I have wept for the waste of a human life, and for the pain that brought him there, yes. But I’m angry, too. I cannot understand how a man can do this to his aging parents, his family. How is this supposed to make things better?
Ten days later, as chronicled here, a beloved uncle also left us. I’ve thought so much about this passing. About how it is when we are loved, and needed and even useful, how hard it is to say good-bye. I’ve thought some of the same things I thought when my Daddy died. I went back to one of my other xanga sites: www.xanga.com/letterstomydaddy where I wrote down some of my rawest grief, and found that things haven’t changed much when it comes to losing someone we love — there will always be questions. There will always be people who get to live that are far less deserving in our eyes than the one who died. And this ache, though not as intense for me as it was when Daddy died, is just as intense for Uncle Vernon’s wife, Freda, and his children, Jay, Kathy, Vernon Jon, and Andrea, and his beloved grandchildren and his brother and sisters.
And then, Merlin. So unexpected, so tragic, so inestimable the loss. I’ve almost not allowed myself into this room of grief because it hurts so much, and because I almost feel like what is there in its intensity for me is almost improper, bordering on profane. It’s like it isn’t right to feel this kind of pain when it really isn’t “mine to own.” I keep thinking about his wife and kids and his mom and siblings, his friends, the community there in and around Pigeon, MI, who will feel this loss in ways I won’t even begin to. I remember feeling grief when Daddy died that felt so specific to me and our family — like no one else feels a grief this raw and stays sane. We had the hope of Heaven, we believed that God’s timing was best, we didn’t wish him back to that sick, unreliable body — but he was so GONE, and we missed him so acutely. The grief was so intense that it was physical in nature — “sick in the stomach, wanting to throw up” kind of grief. Daddy had 16 more years than Merlin had — and strangely enough, that seemed so young for someone like my Daddy. It just feels so WRONG for someone like Merlin.
And so, these days have passed. My hands have been busy, and I’ve tried to occupy my mind with things other than suicide, disease and accidents. Sometimes, though, in the middle of absolutely ordinary, everyday busy-ness, I cannot stop the tears, and I find myself wanting just some quiet time to answer no questions, to have no responsibility, to just do some honest grieving.
But it will have to wait. There is an annual hymnsing and minister’s meeting to prepare for, there are cakes to bake, vegetable trays to assemble, and overnight guests to enjoy. There are homemaking chores that I cannot ignore, and my ladies’ daily needs that are always “beyond normal” by necessity, to attend to.
And God is God of The Timing of Things. He isn’t surprised by how everything has come together. He didn’t set out to “ruin” the month that has always been my favorite. There is a plan here, and when I am just a little bit better able to cope, I think I will see a little glimpse of what He had in mind. And if not — Well, I’m going to still trust Him. He is God. He will do what is best for me if I can only let go of the pieces. I want to do my part — but I cannot do God’s part, no matter how hard I try.
It’s a good time for me to let God be GOD, not only in my heart, but in my head.