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Letters to Taylor: On Moving
I’ve paused for quite some time after typing your name because the reality of your absence floods over me again. O my sweet girl, what a long ten months it has been as I’ve tried to learn how to live without you.
Time has marched on since you left us, but my pace has slowed significantly. I feel a bit behind time all the time and yet I refuse to join the world’s continuous rush. The slowing has reminded me to savor the most important reasons for life.
I’ve listened to chatter about how to move on after grief. As if grief has an ending point. The end of grief is heaven. So, I am cultivating the art of moving forward on earth with joy and sorrow in the same pocket. I no longer attempt to separate them as I did when you first joined heaven but have more recently allowed them to mingle like loose change where each coin is recognized for its value, but collectively appreciated for payment. That allowance has freed my soul of the burden of moving forward in grief and I have realized that grief is also a blessing.
The blessing of grief is that it strips away pretenses. The dense fog that settled in my heart after watching you suffer and take your last breaths is hovering at a higher altitude. I see more clearly than I ever have before, especially when I am face to face with people, and I am eternally grateful to you for teaching me even after your physical presence is gone.
The realization of God with me is greater and more powerful than I’ve ever known. God has shown Himself to me over and over again, literally guiding me step by step through His Word, His Spirit, and His people. I don’t know why I’m surprised by that. I know He gave you to me over two decades ago so that I could begin to learn those faith lessons. But as I sit here all alone, in a too-quiet house, the reality of God’s presence in all circumstances overwhelms me with praise and thanks to Him.
Well, about moving. The house that you lived in for 18 years is no longer ours. These walls that echoed your precious voice, the room that held your greatest joys and suffering, they are no longer legally owned by your mama and daddy. Goodness, that’s hard to write.
Four walls surely held a lot of life in that span of time. In 18 years, Daddy and I brought 5 bundles of joy through the door. We’ve experienced the highs and lows of raising an incredible family with all ages and stages of life from birth to marriage. Learned the roles of parenting and step parenting. Seen two heads stitched up from bumps against the fireplace bricks. We’ve lost track of the number of broken bones. Heard lots of sour notes from musical instruments, but many perfect ones too. Watched 5 kiddos learn how to ride a bike in the court. We’ve seen more holidays and made more memories than I could ever list. Carved pumpkins and hung stockings. Grabbed hands in prayer and read Scripture. Snuggled and watched movies. Laughed and played board games. Cried buckets of tears. We’ve endured the heartache of losing a baby before he or she could make their presence and we’ve endured the heartache of losing you, our sweet girl who made such a presence. As Daddy said yesterday, we haven’t just lived in the house, but we’ve created a home.
And within the next week, we have the blessed opportunity to move into a new house. It’s exciting and wonderful and a bit scary all at the same time. I feel the coins of joy and sorrow mingled in my pocket and hold them together to begin making deposits of love in a fresh, new way.
To some, we are losing all the precious memories we’ve made in this sweet house. But from your view, I know that you know better. For a house is just a place to hang out. Home is the hearts of those who get to hang out there. I believe that God has given us a new house so that many hearts can find home both on earth and in heaven. Home is truly where the heart is.
I miss you, my sweet girl. Words are not enough.
But know that I treasure you in my heart until I move home.
I love you.