I walk slow circles in the fallen snow. The silence of falling flakes is broken by the crunch of layer upon layer of compacted, frozen white. A puppy dances around my legs, biting excitedly at my bootlaces and nosing holes in the fluffy snow.
I’m thinking about my mom. It’s January, so I do that. I stick my tongue out to capture a snowflake and laugh softly when I catch one. I’m almost thirty five and she’s been gone for nineteen years. She has been gracing heaven’s halls for more than half my life.
There are times when grief is a teacher and your heart smoothes itself carefully into a new space, longing to be filled, not overwhelmed.
There are times when grief is a brutal taskmaster, raining blow on blow upon the broken.
And there are moments when time has done the quiet work of healing across seasons and milestones and the slow ticking of years, and there is so nothing to say.
‘I miss you.’
‘We miss you.’
‘There is so much I have to tell you.’
And yet – after nineteen years – there is finality in knowing that grace has eased our lives along to the point where there is no space for her. We could not draw her life and beauty back into the canvas of our lives without overwriting what else exists here. Who else exists here.
This is grace: despite grief, despite sorrow, despite that ever-present ache of absence, our lives overflow with blessing we didn’t ask for, expect, or even desire.
And sometimes, so overcome by grace and the pure gift of mystery it remains for us, there is nothing left to say.
‘Miss you, Mama. Can’t wait to see you again. We’re another year closer.’