The cold seeps in around the edges of the old farmhouse. I take a cup from the corner roundabout and wonder at how cold it is. Why is that cupboard so cold? I almost want to pour boiling water into it and let it sit for a bit until it is thoroughly warmed before making a cup of mint tea. The day has been long. Tonight I finally finished the delinquent paperwork that I need to file with the state. I feel cross. I should be grateful. I have a wonderfully understanding case manager, and I’ve had the best nurses in the system. My case has just been reassigned, something I always dread, but the replacement is optimistic and warm and she makes me think that just maybe, losing the best nurse I’ve ever had won’t be the end of my tenure.
The cold has been seeping around the edges of my soul these last few months. Sometimes it seems like grief deferred is grief escaped, but it just isn’t so. It niggles at the edge of my conscious thought, lends cloud cover to my sunniest days. I’ve fought with all my might, I think. I refuse to answer any question of “How are you?” with anything but an enthusiastic, “I’m GOOD!” Or even, “I’m GREAT!!!” and if the truth be told, that does make me feel better. But the tears are so close, and the smallest things set me off.
Today, Youngest Daughter stood in our kitchen, ready to go see Joe, the employer that has suffered a stroke. She is blinking back the tears. “I know that he knows me, Mama, but he doesn’t remember my name sometimes. I feel like my sense of loss is far deeper than I realized at first. At first, I knew he was in there, and I thought that he would probably get better, but now it’s like he knows that he knows me, but he doesn’t know how or why. And–” her voice caught and I had to strain to hear her, “I’m afraid it’s just too late.”
“It reminds me of a story I read recently,” I told her, “about this girl who would visit her grandma and her grandma never spoke her name, but would engage in conversation with her. She wanted her grandma to remember her name so desperately, so as she was leaving, she said, ‘Grandma, you don’t know my name, do you?’ Her grandma looked at her intently and then said, ‘I don’t know your name, but I know that you are someone I love.’ And Rachel, I believe that is how it is with Joe. He may not remember your name, but he does know that you are someone that he loves.”
Tonight I am so glad that when Jesus looks at me, He knows my name. He knows my heart. He knows that I am someone He loves. This soul sadness is something that He has already carried, so he understands it. And while there are numerous things that are honest grief, there are still One Thousand Gifts to count, and people around me who need to be encouraged and loved on and who “borrow” joy from me. This I purpose to rejoice in and I also purpose to not let them down.
And so, let the evening begin. I have “promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” I think I’d best get busy.