Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Surrender in the Night's Air

Tonight I felt the night air calling for me again. I quietly left the house under the pretense of bringing the dog outside and walked in my slippers onto the driveway. It was barely a month ago when I did the same, but that evening I had dropped to my knees before lying down on my back to look up at the stars. Thankfully my home is set off from the road, far away from any curious neighbor’s eyes because I began making these regular excursions late at night over the summer months. As autumn approached, I needed them to continue. Seeing the tar and the grass all damp from the day’s fog, tonight I made my way over to the front steps instead. I took some deep breaths and gave myself permission to cry. I did not sob however, as I thought I might, but a few full tears did eventually fall to my cheeks.

The past month has been so tiring. I am exhausted. My husband and I took our family to see his ailing Mom a few weekends ago. It was a nice day and we took many family pictures. Barbara was most patient as everyone asked to have a picture taken with her. We knew, I think, that this was our last chance to do that. The following weekend I made a solo four hour trip north to visit my own parents and to take in my daughter’s college concert. Then, after preparing my classes for their week off over Thanksgiving break, I turned my attention to my daughter’s play, my husband’s own musical production, my son’s basketball games, and my other daughter’s weekend visit home with her friend Erin. I cleaned the house, baked sweets, cooked meals, brought supplies over to a fundraising event. I, next, got ready for a couple of days of teacher workshops before the Thanksgiving holiday. However, on the first teacher workshop day, something did not feel right. At first I blamed it on the chill of the building. And then I got my father-in-law’s email. My Mom-in-law, who had been battling cancer for quite some time, was having trouble breathing. Within minutes I was meeting with my boss to tell him of the situation and I secured the next day off for my husband and I.

Everyone, it seems, has a “birth story” to tell. It’s less common to hear a tale of someone’s death. But those stories can be most beautiful and worth sharing too. Barbara died Tuesday evening surrounded by her husband and three children. Earlier in the day I had gone to her side, stopping to hold her daughter, son, and husband in my arms, quietly promising Barb’s spirit that I would forever be there for them all. I kissed her forehead, once to say thank you for everything she had ever done for us, and once again to say goodbye. Although I want to preserve my memory of so much more, I am not sure I have the strength tonight to talk of everything that has transpired in the past 96 hours, but I will say now that, as sad as they have been, there have been many moments of magnificent wonder. God watched over us all this week, of this I have little doubt.

Taking myself outside tonight, I gave myself permission to cry, but then I realized that what I was doing in the night’s air had more to do with asking for help. I told God that I am scared. I am trying so hard to be strong, to be the good girl I have always tried to be,  to be helpful and selfless and generous....and I just don’t know if I can do it. I am scared to fall apart. To do so would mean I would need to get back up again. And what if I can’t do that? Winter is coming. I’m going to need to pull on a jacket, grab a hat and some gloves when the night air calls me. To the outside I will go--to let a few tears fall at a time, to continue praying for strength and the courage to continue on in the faith that He will be there to pull me back up off the ground, each time I bravely surrender my burdens to Him.

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