Sitting in my daughter’s room with her this afternoon, looking at her bookshelf, I noticed my copy of Tear Soup. I lay it on my lap and reread it while she played, then we looked at the pictures together as I explained the story. I couldn’t read the words out loud. Tears choked my throat.
At almost six months after Ben’s death, reading this lovely book was a different experience than when it first arrived at my door. I have more perspective on grief now. The brutally hard work – the sobbing every day work – of making my own tear soup is largely done.
The sadness I felt stemmed from perspective too. Realizing who has been there for me the last six months, and who has not. Knowing how many others have begun their own soup. Realizing I’ve turned off the stove these last few days but it should be on simmer. When the intensity subsides and the sun comes out, it’s easy to want to put grief away. But it still needs an ear, needs a place in my awareness, needs to be held softly in my heart.
I am sad tonight too as I remember my cousin’s young niece, Jaimie, who died last year on January 16, after losing her fight with cancer. Today is my friend Jamie’s birthday. Weird name thing, I know. She died suddenly on Mother’s Day, 2009 and I know her family and many friends are both mourning and celebrating today. The eloquent Emma at PleasureNotes wrote about Jamie here, shortly after her death, and here, on its first anniversary. On this night last year, I felt the first little spirit we had conceived leave my body. In rereading what I wrote then, I am brought to my knees once more by the events that Alana had yet to experience. I am reeling with the news from a new friend that her world was turned upside down this afternoon by a shocking diagnosis. My heart aches for her, for her family, and what is to come. At the same time, I see hope flutter by on purple and gold wings.
Listening to my daughter’s hysterical laughter as she played with her dad before bed, I was overcome by wonder, by a deep awe for life, and by a sense of celebration.
This is life.
Right now, somewhere, someone is dying. Right now, somewhere, there are babies being born. Right now someone is coming to terms with illness and someone else is rediscovering health. Right now, a man and woman are falling in love. Right now, another couple have one foot out of their relationship’s door. Right now a young child is crying and being comforted, while another child’s cries go unheeded and she learns the world is not safe. Right now a family is huddled in a refugee tent, cold, exhausted, and afraid and another family halfway around the world plays games in front of a roaring fire.
This is life.
In all its sadness and celebration.