Friday, February 28, 2014

Living in the bittersweet

Bittersweet. It is the one word that encapsulates grief well right now. I was able to, for the first time, watch a video last week with Matt in it. Not only was I able to watch a video with him in it, I watched it without ending up in a pit of grief. I watched it with a bittersweet heart. Of course, it doesn't surprise me that Matt wasn't looking at the camera or talking. That just wouldn't be him. He hated getting his picture taken, and he was a "man of few words." (Hence, the nickname Mr. Stoic.) He rarely smiled, though his best buddies always got him to smile and laugh. If an adult got him to smirk, they were doing well, indeed! I always like to say that he is like "quiet waters that run deep." He was a thinker, alright.

One of his favorite songs was Million Pieces by Newsboys. Matt's "second mom" (also my best friend) posted on his FB page this week that she had heard the song playing and thought of him. It warms my heart whenever anyone remembers him, and even more so when they share it.

Bittersweet also describes this week as I've been filling out post secondary education option (PSEO) forms for Matt's sister. Bitter because I never got to do this with Matt, but sweet because I get to do this with "Sweet Stuff." It's been more emotional than I had anticipated (bitter), but not as overwhelmingly painful as life two years ago (sweet).

Bittersweet, too, was the dream I had of Matt last night. It brought the message that he is fine and doing well. He had matured and was a responsible young man, standing amongst a group of college-aged friends. He had changed, yet not changed. Bittersweet was the moment I woke up. He spoke to me in the dream, and I replied. I heard his voice. (sweet) I saw him and stood close to him. (sweet) But then the dream ended. (bitter)

Living in the bittersweet is difficult to describe. It feels a bit like coasting. It's not exactly exhilarating, but neither is it a deep and miry pit. At the beginning of the grief journey, I just desperately wanted the steep roller coaster ride to end, the jarring ups and downs to level out. However, now that it has, I'm not entirely sure I like this "flat" section of the ride, either. It's a different sort of unsettled feeling.

One thing I know, however, is that no matter how unsettled I am, God is not. He is a strong tower, a steady rock that girds this ride. He does not change, though the course does. (Psalm 18, Hebrews 13:8) And one of these days, I, too, will be kissing my cares goodbye, no longer living in the bittersweet.

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