The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Then it goes on to list some examples where we find this, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” After the last few days, I’m ready for a little more laughing and dancing, and a lot less weeping and mourning.
Over this past weekend, losing Molly combined with Mother’s Day without my children or my mother combined to produce in me a heavy sadness, which I couldn’t shake. Then, to add insult to injury, my sainted mother-in-law was hospitalized with a serious health issue Saturday night. It was a perfect storm of melancholy.
My Mom passed away on the last day of June so this was my first Mother’s Day without her. All I could think about were the times I would go to Strange’s and buy her a Rose bush or something, then take it out to her on Saturday so I could beat my brother and sisters to the punch. Last year, she was in a great mood already, before I showed up, and was thrilled with my gift. She made a huge fuss over it and gave me one of her famous hugs. I still remember the smell of her hair. Now, every rose bush I see brings a knot to my throat, especially this past weekend.
Ever since we lost Molly on Thursday morning, my house has become a shrine to her memory. Every square inch of the place carries with it a memory. I walk in my house and immediately feel the pain of her absence. She doesn’t meet me at the door. She’s isn’t there to pester me for treats, she doesn’t need to be let out, or fed. We eat our dinner with her nowhere in sight. Every routine of my day has an enormous hole in it where Molly used to be. I wonder how long it will be before I stop feeling like crying when I enter my house.
It has only been since Molly left us that I have truly understood what my father is going through. Since Molly lived with us, her memory is everywhere, and her loss is felt most severely at home. How must my father feel when someone with whom he was inseparable for 65 is no longer there? That he bears up with such grace and dignity under so heavy a burden is beyond my understanding.
“To everything there is a season…” Like every season before it, I will need to learn to deal with this new one. For so many years, I never experienced loss of any kind. In this, I have been extraordinarily lucky. But the scales balance with time, and the older I get the more of it I will see. Death is every bit as much a part of our world as is life. I will get better at handling it with experience, I suppose, and hopefully I will learn how to be a blessing to others as a result.
Still, after the last three days, I’ve had my fill. Today begins a new week, one filled with glorious possibility. This coming weekend, I will be together with my incredible family celebrating Kaitlin’s graduation from Wake Forest University with a Master’s degree in English Literature. We will all be together with Patrick flying in, our dear friends the Stroups, Paula, Ron and Ryan, and Jon. We will enjoy great food, the beautiful campus, and even take in the Great Gatsby together. Maybe there will even be some laughing and dancing. There is a season for it after all.