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IMG_2588Grief does not have an end date. You learn to live with loss. It settles down in the nooks and crannies of daily life and perhaps one would think looking from the outside in that you, the Loser of a Loved One, have ‘dealt so well’ and found ‘closure’ and blah blah blah.

The truth is the feelings of loss are still there. The day of remembering comes every year as sure as Christmas and New Years and Easter and birthdays and there is no chance we will forget what Feb 27th is to us. This year -8 years on- the sorrow and tears came and God in his magnificent kindness sent a little angel to help me through the day. Well, actually she is my grandniece and her family has known more than their own share of sorrow.

Sofia and I played games and chatted our way through the day. And just in passing she told me very naturally and matter- of- factly, I have a brother and sister in heaven. So of course I told her, I have a daughter in heaven. Very organically and simply we told each other one of the most important parts of our lives. We spoke their names, not in some sad heavy tone but in the way that we speak the names of those we know and love.

Elizaveta   Simeon    Olivia

In this less than a minute conversation I felt like a cloud of kindness sent by God settled in around us, blunting the pain of loss and encouraging me to leave the ‘making sense of life’ up to God. In other words, trust him like a child trusts a loving parent. And then Sofia and I played tic tac toe and dot to dot.

As I began my run this morning (my last day in the states until August – this afternoon I leave for PNG) the sun shone on the snowy mountain peaks, the IMG_2590air around me was clear and cool and the sky above a beautiful blue. How fitting it is that during this week of memories we are heading to Papua New Guinea. Olivia once told me she was not afraid to die but she worried that her parents would be ok. I think she would be – or is (I don’t know all there is to know about heaven) – cheering us on. Go, Mom! Go, Dad!

All of these thoughts were going through my mind as I ran on the ‘Angel Path’ and I was brimming over with thanks to God for half- minute miracles, sunshiny mountains, blue skies and the hope of heaven. I came around the last corner of my run and looked up to see a beautiful rainbow. To paraphrase my grandniece, Sofia, I am so full of joy that my mouth can’t come down from smiling!