Don’t let go

I am good at letting go. It’s something I like about myself. I find it to be a useful skill as a writer, a mom, a wife.

My boss can shred what I write, my four-year-old can pee on the floor, Jensen can be human and mess up, and I can let it all go. I will feel what I feel, I will learn what I can learn, and then I will tell myself not to care until I genuinely stop caring.

I have done this with success enough times to know that I can think and self-talk my way out of any emotion. I am like a drill sergeant that tells my mind what to think.

Forgiving certain events has taken months of constantly repeating: “It’s over now. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care.” At first, it feels like I am lying to myself, but I am eventually convinced and my feelings come into line. There is no longer any pain attached to what was the most painful of memories because I know that it is over now, it doesn’t matter and I don’t care.

But losing Brody has presented me with a whole new challenge.

I am terrified of forgetting even the littlest detail. It hurts to think that I don’t know him the way a mom should know her child. And I don’t ever want to stop caring deeply about this part of myself, this part of my story.

Sometimes it feels like the only alternative to not caring is to be overwhelmed with grief. I tried to create his photo album recently and I broke down within 15 minutes. I was consumed with sadness and the weight of our family’s loss. I couldn’t find a way to look at his beauty without suffering.

But I am convinced that there must be a way. Please God. There must be a way to remember my boy with joy and thanksgiving. I want to recognize the gift of his life without fury at the injustice of his death. Is that too much to ask?

A Bible verse that has always challenged me says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).”

And Paul writes in Romans 5: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts….”

That’s what I am aiming for—character and hope. I want God’s love poured out in my heart. I am challenged still to understand how suffering and trials can inspire rejoicing and pure joy, especially a trial as harsh as death. But I’m hoping that’s what you discover when you persevere. Because it is not over, it does matter and I do care, and there needs to be room for that in healthy mind and a happy heart.

This time, I am not letting go.

How to have a good attitude – no matter what.

Right before Brody was born, Jensen and I reflected on how difficult things were with our first baby. Bryson was four weeks early, he was missing fingers on both hands, and he had an internal malformation that required him to go immediately into NICU for an IV of sugar water. Doctors didn’t think it was safe for me to nurse him before the severity of the malformation was assessed and the issue resolved. Fun times.

Jensen and I were looking forward to an easier experience with our second child. I remember rubbing my large belly and saying to him, “I know things will be better this time…”

He didn’t even make me finish my thought. He looked me in the eyes and said, “We will have a good attitude no matter what.”

Today, Bryson has a few bizarre abnormalities, but he’s a gorgeous kid and his health is excellent. He is the brightest light in our life.

We talk to him often about attitude. Sometimes we tell him that, “Boys with good attitudes get rewards; boys with bad attitudes get consequences.” It’s a bit simplistic, but it helps get the point across.

I’ve decided I need a line or two like this to repeat to myself. Because, having a good attitude “no matter what” has been tested to my limit.

In that moment, when Jensen and I were looking forward to a less dramatic birthing experience, I sincerely believed that our faith and commitment to positivity would protect us from tragedy. Of course, it didn’t – at least not in the way we expected.

Our experience with Brody ended in the worst outcome imaginable. We would chose – in a heartbeat – to have merely repeated what we went through with Bryson.

Then, what is the point of having hope? Why look at a pile of shit and say to yourself and the world: I am still thankful for all of the beauty around me? When circumstances feel unbearable, why proclaim: I am still thankful for all of the beauty I’ve yet to see? And when your heart is broken, why decide that, no matter what: I am committed to protect the beauty within me?

Why not just look at the mess and get angry and bitter and cry? That seems fair.

I believe a good attitude raises you up beyond your problems and allows you to see solutions, opportunities, hope.

Helen Keller said, No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

If I am going to write myself an attitude mantra, perhaps it will be: Women with good attitudes are light. Women with bad attitudes live in the dark.

I will still have days when I feel anger; some losses are infuriating. I will forever allow myself to cry when I need to; tears can be healthy. But I cannot let anger take over my heart. I cannot let crying become my only song.

A good attitude did not keep Brody from dying, but it can keep me from dying on the inside. It can save me from a failed and wasted day or year or life. And that seems worth the effort, no matter what.

Be still and know

Some mornings I open the blinds and hope the sunshine will remind me of the light. I drink coffee and hope the caffeine will shake the weariness from my soul. I wake up feeling like I have nothing to give the day, and maybe a bit like the day has nothing to give me.

What am I doing?, I ask myself. What is the point?

I am determined to focus on what I have power over and not on what I cannot change, but I still have moments when my inability to protect what I love is paralyzing.

I don’t want to hurt like this – not now and not ever again. I just want to go back to the image I had of my life – the expectations, the dream. I see the perfect family picture and I don’t want to look away. I don’t want a new picture. I don’t want to change my expectations. I want to be God so that I can make this right. I want to be God so that I can fix what’s broken. Sometimes, it is too scary to trust.

In my state of restlessness this afternoon, I checked the Bible app for the verse of the day: Be still and know that I am God, Psalm 46:10.

It is good to stop, sometimes – to take our eyes off our expectations, our dreams, our wins and losses. It is good to be still and know that we are welcomed into the presence of our creator, the source of love, the author of peace.

I am not God, and though I often wish I was, I know that is just a temptation, just a mirage. I can’t be God in my own life or in anyone else’s, and that is by design.

One thing my pastor told Jensen and me (while he was patiently sitting with us after Brody’s death), was that God is a God of relationship. He is not relentlessly asking us to do – His ultimate purpose for creation was not to see what we could produce.

That is such good news. That is what I need to remember when my heart feels weary and feeble and inadequate in the face of the life I want to create. The purpose of every day is not to wake up and produce – though I sure do enjoy a productive day. The purpose of the day is to wake up and love. God’s ultimate purpose for creation was love, and sometimes, I just need to be still and remember that.

How do you measure faith?

I remember the day I looked into Brody’s crib and told him – told myself – that the nightmare was over. It was Monday, November 7, 2016 and he was 11 months old. He was doing so well. He was doing all the things doctors told us he would never do and he’d been doing them successfully for months. I remember he was smiling up at me and I was smiling down at him and I felt such gratitude and relief.

I felt victorious.

I never would have guessed he had only six months left to live.

Yesterday, sitting in church, I listened as the pastor explained that God does not allow bad things to happen in our lives. We are meant to be victorious, and when we fail, he said, we fail because our hearts condemn us. He was teaching from 1 John 3: 19-23 which reads:

19And by this we will know that we belong to the truth, and will assure our hearts in His presence: 20If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, 22and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23And this is His commandment: that we should believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should love one another just as He commanded us.

I couldn’t listen to that message and not feel like a failure. I’m not sure how this can be interpreted as anything other than: your son died because you didn’t have enough faith. I have to acknowledge that I don’t think anyone, including my pastor, wants me to take it that way. But, I’m listening in church, I’m trying to understand, and that is what I’m hearing.

I was in a terrible mood after the service. I felt like never going back to church – never putting myself at risk of hearing words that hurt so deep. I decided this was an extreme overreaction, however. There’s no point in being offended.

Still, I found myself sitting in my closet today, crying and asking God why the world is such a hell of a mess. I know the answer is largely because we all feed the bad wolf sometimes and make terrible choices. We hurt ourselves, we hurt each other. We obsess over what we think we need. We choose fear over love. Our hearts betray us.

“Why did you let it get like this, God? Why do people have so much and so little power all at the same time? Why did you trust me with Brody if I wasn’t enough to keep him here?”

And the words of 1 Corinthians 13 started to fill my mind. “If I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

I cannot fathom all mysteries. Not all of the mountains in my life have been cast into the sea. But even if it is somehow true that Brody died because my heart condemned me, I will stand in the confidence that I had what matters most. I have loved and will always love Brody. Even when I learned that I might have to watch my son die, I chose to love him.

And I believe that’s what faith is really meant to motivate us to do. Understanding faith is not meant to be this obsession with getting a miracle or finding the path that leads to answered prayer – as it has certainly been for me at times. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians that the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.

The only thing, he writes in chapter five verse six, the only thing is faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

I am not saying to stop learning the promises of God for healing, or to stop praying for God’s will to be done. Certainly giving sight to the blind was a powerful way Jesus showed love.

But, if you want to measure your faith, don’t measure it in answered prayers for mercy and favour. Don’t measure it in prophecies or mountains moved. In my experience, that is a futile distraction that leads to heartache.

Instead, measure faith by the risks you take to help someone. Measure it by generosity, patience and unmerited kindness. Measure it by forgiveness, commitment and sacrifice.

Measure faith by the strength and determination with which you love.

1 Corinthians 13
New International Version (NIV)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Dear Brody,

Your dad and I moved your ashes into our bedroom today. With tears in our eyes, we took you off the shelf in your room and put you on the shelf in ours. It was time. We needed you closer.

I gave you a hug. My cheek on the cold, metal urn was awkward and unsatisfying – not like a hug should be, not like love should be. I wanted a real hug – warm and tight.

Last night, at your cousin’s third birthday party, Bryson went to give me a hug and he came at me so hard he bashed his head into my teeth. It made a loud crack and everyone thought he broke my nose. We were fine though. After a few tears, Bryson came up to me and said, “Let’s try that again.”

I wished deep in my heart that it was you who jumped at me like that – with all your strength and no sense of restraint. That is the kind of awkward hug I would like from you.

But your body is ashes in an urn. There will be no more hugs and no more birthdays in this life.

And that is why I need to write you this letter. A lot has changed in our relationship. Ha! What a hilarious statement. Brody, things are just not at all how I told you they would be. I’m sorry. We did our very best for you and that was not enough.

Going forward, I need to tell you a few things that your dad and I have decided. I think you might appreciate knowing how we want things to be in our new reality. I can’t give you routine and predictability the way I’d planned, but I’m going to do my best.

First, I’m sorry that we didn’t talk about you at Liam’s party yesterday. We don’t know what to say, I think. No one wants to forget you, but we are still figuring it out. Our wounds aren’t scars yet, and sometimes remembering you makes us bleed.

Still, your dad and I agree that we want everyone to know that they can talk about you as much as they want and whenever they want. We can share stories or thoughts of you whenever they come to us. We will not fear our memories; they are all gifts.

At Christmas, we want to include the photo we have of you in front of the Christmas tree. It shows you happy and alive and we want to remember you that way. You only had one Christmas at home and that photo helps me see that it was a good one. Maybe we will put it on a chair or on the wall, we don’t know, but I don’t ever want to celebrate Christmas without also celebrating you.

We will also celebrate your birthday every year. There will be angel food cake with seven-minute frosting, fruit, and people who love you. We will come together to watch home videos and look at the stunning photo album we are going to make. We won’t have presents, but we will remember the gift you are to us.

Mommy also plans to get a tattoo. Until then, I will keep wearing the jewellery given to me to help keep you close. I hope these symbols spark questions so I can tell people about you, how I carry you in my heart. I hope I can share with others without making them uncomfortable or sad. I know you would prefer to be a source of joy and I will always honour that as best I can.

Finally, my dear son, what I desperately need to tell you, is that we are going to be okay. We’ve decided. We will miss you – always – we will never be glad this happened, not even a little bit. But we will be full, whole and happy.

I’m having such a hard time with this Brody. I need to explain it to you to help me understand.

I know this is possible now. I believed it before, but now I know. Something has changed inside of me.

Ever since you died, or at least since the initial shock subsided, I have been searching franticly for you. My brain has been doing things I don’t understand, trying to process how you are no longer a daily part of my life.  I’ve never experienced anything similar to this. I’ve never known a consuming, exhausting grief before losing you. But I woke up one morning and I wasn’t looking for you anymore.

I felt relief and fear. I felt angry that this new calm, the possibility of acceptance, came so unexpectedly, without my consent. How could something so deep within me actually be so far outside of my control? But feelings are often like that. That is why they are a fool’s compass.

Now that this consuming, frantic phase of grief is waning, I realize that I get to choose where I go next.

Brody, I don’t enjoy being dramatic, but this is an exceptional situation and I need to tell you that I would burn the house down to bring you back. I would cry every day non-stop if it would bring you back. I would relive my life if it meant that when I got to your birthday you would be born healthy. I need you to know that I would do that for you. Because I don’t want to you to feel like I don’t love you or miss you when you see me happy down here. I’m afraid of that. Other people might think that, I can live with that, but you never can.

I’m quite certain your dad feels the same way. You know he adores you. From the moment you came home, I don’t remember him ever resenting that you had a disease, or ever being angry at God. He just had so much love for you.

Brody, it is bitterly painful accepting that you’re gone from us. I have never had to do anything so unfair. I have to give myself permission to be happy even though you died. I’m having such a hard time with that.

I was reading on the deck the other night, and I read about Viktor Frankl. This man is a holocaust survivor who lost his wife and multiple family members while witnessing the worst displays of inhumanity. Instead of losing hope, he chose to feed the good wolf and be a source of light in the midst of utter darkness.

Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” You should find him, Brody. I expect he’s where you are. Please tell him that your mom says thank you.

Because when I read about Frankl, I felt a new freedom to choose a positive outlook despite our family’s great loss. If Frankl could endure the holocaust with grace and joy, then surly I can choose gratitude even in the face of this immense disappointment.

Brody, I promised you that I would always have faith for you. I promised you that good things would come out of the bad. I meant for things to be different, my son. I meant for you to speak at my funeral. But though we are separated now, in such a profound and painful way, I believe we can focus on the love and memories that still connect us. And we can hold onto the hope that there will be birthdays, one day, and I will hug you again – warm and tight.

Love always and always and always,

Your mama

Love remains, even still

Grief is love with nowhere to go.

A friend shared that unattributed quote with me recently. I hadn’t heard it before, but it wasn’t a revelation or an aha moment – I was already well aware.

I loved to love Brody. I did my best to make his world wonderful. I sang of my love for that kid multiple times a day – made up songs of thanks to God, repetitious rhymes of affection. Sometimes I still hear Bryson sing: “Brody, oh Brody, you are such a joy,” x10. My version had additional lyrics, but that’s the line he repeats.

Our family gave Brody everything we could. We loved him well and it was an incredible gift to be able to do that. An incredible gift that we lost.

I mourn because I still love my son – overwhelmingly – but all that love can do is weep over his ashes and his pictures.

And that is not enough.

Shortly after Brody died, I prayed: God, what do I do with all this love? How do I show Brody love? I never want to stop loving him. How do I love him now?

God had such a simple answer: Take that love for Brody and pour it out on others.

God reminded me of the story in Matthew 25 when Jesus tells his followers that whatever they’ve done for those in need, they have done for him. We show Jesus love when we help someone, and I can love Brody that way, too.

I spent some time with a little five month old at a women’s conference in May. I bounced this blue-eyed boy around while his mom listened to one of the speakers. She said he wouldn’t go to me when I asked if I could take him, but he was happy in my arms for close to an hour. After I gave him back, I whispered, “I love you, Brody.”

It wasn’t how I imagined loving my child – really, really not – but it was the best I could do. It was powerful for me and I believe it was powerful for Brody.

I still got angry one night and complained to God that I can feel all my love for Brody, but I can’t feel his love for me.

Who told you that?, God asked me, and I realized I was wrong to believe that I was cut off from Brody’s love. Because love never fails, it never ends. It stretches from his heart to mine, even still. Even death doesn’t separate us from love.

I still mourn the tragic loss of goodnight kisses and bedtime prayers, first days of school and the beautiful sadness of temporary goodbyes. I fully expected Brody would look up at me one day and say, “I love you, mama.” He would make me Mother’s Day cards. He would sing me Happy Birthday. I have to wait a very long time for that now.

My love for Brody is a waterfall, and all I can do with it is give someone who’s thirsty a cold cup of water. But that is something. And until the day when I can swim in a lake with my gorgeous boy, I will keep loving him the best I can. I will keep giving my love somewhere to go.

Hope in my heart

I attended a friend’s graduation while I was pregnant with Brody. It was such a happy time in my life. Everything was how I hoped it would be. Jensen and I had made it through some challenging storms, both public and private, but the sea had calmed.

I was really proud of us. I was deeply grateful. I was looking forward to the joy of adding another child to our loving home. And I was slightly terrified that things were just too good.

But I blocked that out. I told myself that the best was yet to come. There was no reason to expect more heartache. God loves to bless His children.

I remember when the Honorary Degree recipient got up to speak. He looked like a truly happy man. I remember thinking that. He sounded like a man who knew peace.

He began by sharing some significant challenges he’d faced in life. “I buried a daughter,” he shared. He continued on “…and life is still sweet.”

I knew I’d never forget that moment. I teared up. I wanted to cry. I was so proud of this stranger for his honesty and his remarkable courage. I’m sure I hugged my belly, my boy. I’m sure I hugged him confidently knowing that he would live a long life.

But he didn’t. And life tastes quite sour right now.

I see good gifts still around me, but I do not experience them as fully as I once did. It is hard to taste anything but the bitter, bitter pain of my Brody’s death. I don’t want to lie to myself ever again like I did when I was pregnant. I don’t want to think that nothing else terrible will happen. I’m afraid of false hope. I’m afraid of impotent faith.

Now, I think about that dad, I think about his words almost daily. He clearly did not allow himself to die with his daughter. He found peace. He created happiness again. He called life sweet.

I don’t know the man who made the speech that day. I don’t even remember his name. I feel fairly certain though, that he did not rise beyond the pain of his great loss by feeding fear. No, I expect he didn’t tell himself that he should never have wanted the best for his child– that hope is a lie. I’m sure he didn’t look back or look forward and decide that despair and pessimism were his best options. If he did, he clearly didn’t stay there.

Hope is not a lie. I say that hoping that it’s true. Sometimes hope looks like a lie and tastes like a lie and breaks your heart like a lie. Sometimes.

But I will keep hope in my heart. I will give hope another chance. I will love life and give her my best even when she is being a total bitch. Even when I feel betrayed. And one day, I hope, she will be sweet again.

Welcome back

Today was my first day back at work since losing Brody.

Although, “day” is actually a bit misleading. I worked for three hours. Even “worked” is probably not an honest verb. I was there. I was in the building. Step one.

If anything makes me thankful for my wonderful job, it is that people have treated me like a person first and an employee or co-worker second. I have been appreciate and respected just for who I am. That’s a tremendous gift.

It’s not enough to silence the frantic voices in my head though.

I have to confront feeling remorseful, even though I have no good reason to apologize. I have to choose not to be embarrassed despite contributing literally nothing for the past two months. I have to remind myself that I am significant, when the reality is that I am basically just a liability right now.

I need time and help and understanding and I have to fight a lot of shame because of that. Acknowledging my present weakness requires a level of humility well beyond my comfort zone. But that is constantly where I am right now – far outside my idea of comfortable.

I need to remember that God did not make me to be fearful or timid, but to be influential, disciplined and full of love. That is true for me, even in my weakness.

I have a very blurry vision of the future right now; I don’t know what God will give me or when She will give it. But I pray She makes me something useful along the way. I pray that I see Her the way She wants to be seen. I pray I see myself the way She does.

And tomorrow, I will get up, get dressed for work, decide between waterproof or regular mascara, and refuse to feel pathetic regardless of which one I choose.

I haven’t posted much these past couple weeks. I left for Toronto on June 22nd and then, shortly after I returned home, my sister-in-law and her three boys came to stay with us. I also helped to plan our neighbourhood Canada Day celebration, so life has been full.

But I have missed this cathartic practice and I plan to keep making time for it. I feel behind – I want to write about my thoughts and experiences in as close to real time as possible, and there’s things that happened weeks ago that I still haven’t shared.

Still, as I write this little update, I can hear cousins playing and grandparents laughing. Boys in super hero shirts are running around with Captain America shields and walkie-talkies. It’s a wonderful sort of chaos that is much less exhausting when you lean into it.

But I won’t have time for what I feel I need to do unless I ignore something else I feel I need to do. So, I’ll hide away for a few minutes while my house is full of family entertaining each other.

I went to Toronto by myself to visit with the sort of friends who know your enneagram number better than you do. We cheer each other on and celebrate each other’s successes as if they were our own. We cry tears for one another and talk to (or yell at) God on one another’s behalf.

I love them, but I was scared to leave home so soon after loosing Brody. I boarded the plane in Winnipeg and felt completely alone. I missed my husband; I’ve never liked travelling without him. And I was sad to leave Bryson, though I knew he would be fine with his dad. I heard anxiety whisper in my ear: maybe this was a big mistake.

Then I asked the dad sitting next to me if he needed help with his baby daughter while he set up his toddler’s iPad. I bounced this little stranger on my knee, helped her with her soother, whispered in her ear that it was going to be okay, and we both calmed down.

The flight attendant looked over and said, “You’re clearly a mom.”

I knew this trip was not a mistake. I could do this.

The trip was filled with warrior poses in High Park, laughing so hard someone pees her pants (not me), Second City, Sweet Jesus, and serendipitous moments when you find the most darling Italian café just as the crowd leaves and the rain comes.

I’m glad I was brave. I’m glad I was willing to leave the unknown behind for a time to embrace something new.

I think I cried every night, but I cry at home too. Pretty much nothing in life feels easy or comfortable right now. I’ve decided that’s okay. I don’t want that forever, but I do think comfort has been a bit too important to me for most of my life.

Grieving and growing is an exhausting process, but, in the big picture, I think it will be easier if I lean in.

Peace under parted skies

I experienced a gorgeous moment of peace last week. I was outside with Bryson, following him as he rode his balance bike. We’d been inside all day, looking out at the dark clouds. When the weather unexpectedly improved, we delayed bedtime to enjoy the sunshine.

Something about getting on his bike floods Bryson with thoughts of Brody. I think because Bryson learned to ride that bike with Brody following along in the stroller. The three of us went to the park together as many days as we could.

Now, Bryson gets on his bike, and before he starts to move, he will stare at the ground as though he’s waiting. “I miss Brody, mama. I didn’t want him to die,” he reminds me.

This evening was no different. Bryson was telling me how he missed his little brother as he biked along.

Then, in a brief moment of silence, I felt the sadness and confusion inside me dissipate and give way to a new feeling of acceptance. I felt as though I could stop looking for Brody – stop desperately trying to get him back. He was gone, and I felt at peace with that for the first time. I knew that I hadn’t and would never lose him completely, and that became comforting and meaningful in a new way.

The moment passed quickly, but it was an encouraging glimpse of what it feels like to heal. Before that, I could only imagine, and the peace in this moment far exceeded my expectations.

Of course, experiencing the contrast also made it all the more clear that I am still in turmoil. I haven’t accepted that Brody is dead, and it is torture to search for one who cannot be found. It hurts my head and my heart.

Just recently I went somewhere I hadn’t been in a long time, not remembering ’til I arrived that I had last been there with Brody. It was such a strange experience. I felt as though my brain was somehow hopeful – as though it was thinking: I haven’t checked here yet! Look for him! Look for him! He could be here!

All I found were memories.

I am thankful for the brief parting of the clouds – the affirmation that the sun will still be warm when I finally see her again. I don’t know how long it will take for the storm to pass and the sun to shine in clear skies. But I know it will.