I ran across this entry on my Caringbridge today. This was written just one year after a diagnosis that changed our lives and six months and one week after my beloved ones passing into heaven. I look back and wonder who it was that wrote these words. God has opened a place in my heart that I have not fully examined. Foreign and unknown are the waters I am currently looking upon. Looking back, to look forward. Gathering more stones of remembrance.
I Never Said Good-bye
I spent this past week gathering my memories about me, like stones of remembrance. Carefully balancing them one on top of the other. Realizing how precarious this place of remembrance has become. How precious, and yet how overwhelming it is. How many times the memories tumbled from their neatly piled heights. And as I pick them up one by one again, I see how much more valuable they’ve become.
Today I sit here looking at this huge pile. Many stand out, for their unusual presence. Some shine brightly, like the one with our wedding painted on it and the ones that represent our children entering the family. Then there are some that remain in the shadows and cause wearisome thoughts. Ones I rarely touch. Like, illness and cancer and pain. But even though they are steeped in the depths of great shadow, their memories are very real, and just as life changing and just as important to the pile of memorial stones. To handle them stirs my heart to its very core. Countering difficult and painful memories requires something supernatural, something only a very big God could bestow. And … to be thankful in the midst of looking back and holding memories such as these as close as the shining ones, is never possible without God’s hand on my heart.
Sorting memories, the good with the painful. Brings back the vivid pictures of God’s faithfulness to hold us together.
Colossians 1:17 ESV — “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Always there was a supportive hand in our every step. Many times that support came from the saints God gathered physically around us, as He whispered words of encouragement into our souls. I see the memories, precious ones, pile up all around the deep shadows, hemming them in behind and before. And the pain of cancer and the loss we’ve experienced are transformed by new memories. Ones God has had a hand in painting beautifully with the pain of deep sadness, the light of His grace and the passion of His glory.
There are no perfect words to describe the depths of my memories of Chris, and his impact on my life as a believer and as a person. Every area of living has a brush stroke God used Chris to make in my life. I have fond memories of the times Chris sat with me and listened, times he was adamant about something that needed done and the times he led with deep conviction and confidence. I also have precious memories of the times his heart was weary and hurting, and the times I was able to encourage him to keep stepping forward. I don’t have many memory stone that Chris has not been a part of placing in our pile, but now the challenge is to hold, and find places for, the memory stones without his touch. I believe each step will be impacted by this journey and how I move forward will be greatly influenced by these recent experiences, but lifting the stones, of the memorial of our lives together, without him is going to be hard work. It will be watered with many tears and the deep ache of missing his hands in the process.
I realized I do not have a stone in my pile of memories, that says “good-bye” on it. I never said good-bye, but “until we meet again.” And until that time comes, I am promised the memories of days gone by and of days to come, may I be found faithful in spite of this ache and pain of loss. May this place of memorial stones of memory, bring God glory and honor, and may it be a place that draws conversation that points to His great love in the midst of this great loss.