Monday, October 21, 2013

To Love

A reader sent me this many months ago. It was hard to read back then, because I couldn't have pictured ever having a good day. Now, I can.

...from the novel Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

"To love is to lose. It's just that simple. Maybe not today but someday. It is the inevitable condition of humanity. Some sadness has no remedy. Some sadness you can't make better."

"But then why isn't everyone walking around miserable all the time?"

"Because ice cream still tastes good. And sunny and seventy-five is still a lovely day. And funny movies make you laugh, and work is sometimes fulfilling, and a beer with a friend is nice. And other people love you, too.  [Death] has been around since time immemorial. You've run up against it. And there's no getting around or over it. You stop and build your life right there at the base of that wall. But it's okay. That's where everyone else is too. Everyone else is either there or on their way. There is no other side, but there's plenty of space there to build a life and plenty of company. Welcome to the wall."

So I live my life right here,  knowing that death is real and can't be avoided, and some days are indeed very, very good. But I do believe that those I love who have gone before me will be waiting. And the biggest reason this life can still seem bearable, and even often beautiful, is because of that hope.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

This makes me want to read more of this author. She's new to me.

What an amazing thing that you do have good days now.

I know you're making Jack and your wonderful mother so proud.

Marta G said...

How so very beautiful and true. I had never thought of it that way as I'm still walking towards that wall. I hope for many many more good days for you. xo

macmac524 said...

I needed these words today...Thank you!

karenelesa said...

At a memorial service last night I heard a man speak of his grandmother entering into heaven, of the two children she lost too soon waiting for her, her recently passed husband there too, and it was so so beautiful. I couldn't help but think of you, and how one day you and Jack and your mother will be united. It is that hope in Christ that makes this world so beautiful.
Karen

Peg said...

What a lovely post. This is perfect timing for me this week approaching the anniversary of the accident on Thursday. thanks.

claire plante said...

Anna,

Thank you for that passage. I read it several months ago and it is good to read it again, primarily because I am so glad to read that you can imagine and are having some good days!

Thinking of you all the time,
Love,
Claire

Jessica Watson said...

I will probably blubber through it but now I want to read that book.

The other day my mom had her cards read, which I'm not sure I've ever believed in, but she called to tell me that the woman said I would get my wish. All I could think of was that my one and only wish is to some day see my daughter again.

As you said, it's that hope that always keeps me going.

Recovering Church Lady said...

Makes me want to read this wrier also! What beautiful and comforting words.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes that hope is surely the thing that soothes our aching hearts. And the thought of reunion...unexplainable joy.

Steph B said...

Thank you so much for posting this today. My mother died very early this morning. Losing a mother due to a terminal illness is definitely *not* the same as losing a child unexpectedly, but I really loved reading this today. Thank you.

Jamie Reese said...

Amen! HOPE. it's what gets me out of bed in the morning. It's what gets me out of the house. It's what helps me survive septembers and januarys

Alison said...

Beautiful. And I'm glad that you can read this now, hard as it is. Here's to more ice cream, and sunshiny days. xo

Gigi said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I think Jack would be so happy to know that you can now have good days.

Anonymous said...

There is something beautiful and true about this post that makes me want to bookmark it and save it, for I know, I too, will need to reread it someday...we all will. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Karen L. said...

You have blessed my life with your postings, including this one. I, too, know for sure that my loved ones are waiting for me and it gives me great peace and hope in God's strength. Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

it says death has been around for as long as we can remember...but so has love and it is everlasting

Anna See said...

@Steph B I am so very sorry for your loss. Losing your mom is very difficult. Prayers and hugs to you.

Kiri said...

More and more I have come to feel that the sadness of grief is NOT the opposite of joy. It is more bittersweet now, but maybe I now notice the joy more in smaller things, like ice-cream still tasting good. And yes, like you, holding on to that hope.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful sentiment. I recently lost my father and a friend sent me a quote which has comforted me more than I can say!

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." by George Bernard Shaw

One foot in front of the other Anna!

Alexandra said...

Perfect timing, as always. Today, we have the funeral for my son's friend. He was only 10. The soccer team is going, but I'm struggling with this whole idea. We have the visitation at 3, the service at 7PM, interment following. I just don't know... this is my littlest's third funeral this year. I jsut don't know... maybe, on one hand, he learns death is part of life, but on the other... how much pain can we have without breath in between?? A perfect post for me today, as I have no idea what to say to this mother, or what to put in a card. Now I do. Thank you. xo (also, I didn't think I'd need to use your book so quickly as a gift...)

Jen said...

Your words and insight help. I smile, nod and feel understood. We walk very similar paths. God has given us joy to take when we can.

I too, believe Jack and Blake will be waiting on the other side along with all our loved ones that have left before us.

May you see God's beauty today and have unexpected laughter. :)

ella said...

I love this post so much I can hardly stand it. Love you, Anna! xoxo

Robert Julian Braxton said...

1960 sunny and 15 good day 4carpentry
1967 sunny and 23 great day to marry
1971 sunny and 27 to become father
2007 sunny and 62 to be grandpa "B"
2009 sunny and 64 to retire Good
2011 sunny and 66 baby grand daughter
2013 sunny and 69 another good day!

Anonymous said...

The beauty of this took my breath away. Love and hugs to you.

Jessica said...

The 10th anniversary of our child's death will be this Sunday, October 27 and I needed this quote so much. SO much. An indescribable amount. No quote I have ever read before has ever given such true meaning to the grief of a parent. Thank you!

Anna See said...

@Jessica, prayers to you as you approach the 10th anniversary of your enormous loss

Sherri Newman said...

I was just thinking similar thoughts today. How the sun still lights up a beautiful sky, how oreos still taste yummy, and smiles still appear on my face with moments of joy. Beautiful post my friend! HUGS!

Theresa said...

I love this post. Yesterday would have been my dad's birthday and it was very sweet to have this to read. So happy that you can have good days now. Hugs, Theresa

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Anna,
Thank you so much for sharing this. It is the truth. I actually live most days with the fear of losing those that I love and actually I'm not living at all. God Bless.
Hugs,
Debby

Anonymous said...

...and we know our loved ones would not want us to be unhappy the rest of our own lives.

I imagine it takes time to realize we are by no means betraying the ones we've lost when we laugh or have a good day.

I will definitely check that book out. I am so glad to hear that there are good days now. Here's to many more! Big Hugs, NoVa Mom Jen

Noah's Mom said...

Thank-you, Anna, for this lovely post. Since losing my Mother to cancer when she was 50, I now live in fear of losing another loved one and it affects my life profoundly. These words do indeed offer HOPE. And what a refreshing and new way to look at it...building a new kind of life at that wall.
P.S. I am so happy that you can enjoy some good days. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna,

My name is Rose, and I came accross your blog through someone's else blog I also follow. When I first read your story, I could not stop thinking of the similarities in our neighborhoods. I did not realize you also live in VA, just like me. I'm in Springfield, not far from you. I also live on a cul de sac street, and I also have a creek that runs right behing my house. And, following the path on the creek there is a bridge. I can not tell you how much your reality affected mine after I started reading your blog. I also have an almost 11yr boy, and like Jack he is a very special child. My heart is acking right now as I read more and more about Jack, his short life and about you and your feelings. I wish from the bottom of my heart, I could do something to aliviate your pain and suffering. But I know I don't have this power. However, you had the power to make me aware of something I have never paid to much attention to..the creek behind my house. I will keep following your writings as they make me realize small things about my own life. Thanks for writing, thanks for letting us ready. Thanks for teaching us a lesson that not a lot of people are willing to teach. Love, Rose

Lady Jennie said...

In spite of the fact that I view you as a dear friend, full of funny practicality (there is a matter-of-factness to you), my heart and eyes are full nearly every time I stop by. There's just something about your words and the way you say them that is profound.

Rach said...

I never thought I could ever have a good day ever again. And yet, one day, there it was.

I too have that hope. I understand.

Hugs.

Robin @ Farewell, Stranger said...

What a lovely sentiment, and I'm so glad you can embrace this now.

I'm going to share this post with my sister, who lost her 18yo son last year.

Stumbling Towards Perfect said...

The right words at just the right time. [1 year today.]

Anna See said...

@stumblingtowardsperfect sending you extra love today.

MrsTDJ said...

Oh Anna, what a powerful word. Some days are good and some days are not. Some days ice cream tastes like fairy dust and smiles, yet other days like sawdust and smog. Like you, I believe that I will meet my beloved again.

Andrea Mowery said...

So beautiful. And you're right. That hope is everything some days.

Anonymous said...

Anna, you are so amazing. Have you considered reaching out to Amy Grote (her fb page is called Remembering Ann Reese). She lost her little girl in an accident also.

I hope you have many good days soon. You always have such a warmth, as if Jack is shining through you always.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna:
In case you're a movie goer ... just saw the movie GRAVITY and I recommend skipping it as I thought it was extremely insulting (in a kind of deeply immature way) to bereaved parents. My judgement may not be right on this one, but at the least I'd have a trusted friend see it first and then give you their opinion.
Best,
E. in Vt.

Sarah Reinhart said...

I do believe that those who have gone before are waiting. I know it. Beautiful words, beautiful quote Anna.

anymommy said...

I always feel hope when I read here, even when you write about the darkest times and the hardest things. It's amazing.

Denise Smyth said...

I know that's true, but it's just feeling impossible. I am overwhelmed again. I miss Philip; it's been a tough week.

Anna See said...

@Denise, I know. I know. I'm so sorry. Love to you.

Stacy O'Neill said...

You will never feel you can get enough of her...she is simply amazing! My eyes, heart and soul have been awoken because of Anna and her lifes story. Welcome!

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

love this anna, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Do you mind if I offer a metaphor that might be useful to you? The name of your blog -- an inch of gray -- refers to a part of you that is totally unmasked, completely authentic. It's a way of saying "THIS is real, while everything else is at least somewhat concealed or masked or altered for purposes of meeting expectation." It's just interesting that you were trying to point to what was not curated or manufactured long before things got painfully real for you.

Vickie Ingle said...

Thank you so much for today's blog. I needed to read this as I walk toward that wall everyday.

Anonymous said...

PS No title suggestions, but I hope the book is starting to come together, as you edit the words down to the ones that speak to you the most. I have no doubt you're working very hard.

The comments on this post are especially moving and heartfelt. My heart goes out to those facing loss and serious challenges.

Lorenne said...

Thank you for posting this—it helps! And I especially love your comment at the end.