After Matt's birthday there's been a reprieve of sorts. It's like grief gave up, relinquished the choke hold it had on us. It's been a relief, and I'm glad it's over. I think of my son every single day, but the "special" dates are extraordinarily tough ones. I am all too happy to have grief take a back seat. I couldn't have imagined the roller coaster ride ever slowing down, but, indeed, it has.
I never would have thought it, but Matt's birthday was a good day, most likely because it was spent doing Matt's 20 Random Acts of Kindness with our best friends, a family we have known for about 15 years. Our families are so close that our kids refer to themselves by a new last name which came from them combining both family names! (The Chernfields) I can honestly say there was joy on May 2nd which I never thought would be possible. Of course, there's never joy without grief, but there was joy.
This reprieve feels like a new lease, a much welcome time. It is as if I now crave joy and color in my life. I desire to have fun, to make memories, and to cherish what I have. For so long, I didn't care. I couldn't see color and had no desire to laugh. I found it difficult to truly engage in the present. And though grief is always present, it's no longer debilitating. It was once a canyon, but is now a fissure. I'm beginning to see the scar as evidence of healing. I don't like it, still wish I didn't have it, but can't deny it means I have survived.
Our wedding anniversary (Mother's Day, as well) falls closely on the heels of Matt's birthday. Needless to say, it's a week and a half of emotionally-laden days. The first few anniversaries, my husband and I just wanted to pretend the day didn't exist. We were hurting and the word "happy" wasn't in our vocabulary, much less the word "celebrate." This year, however, I secured tickets to "The Table Tour" with Steven Curtis Chapman, Ellie Holcomb, Love and the Outcome, and Brandon Heath. The concert date providentially fell on the day after our anniversary. There is nothing that ministers more to me than music (except God's word). I knew it would be a good concert, and we weren't disappointed.
I also knew Steven Curtis Chapman is a member of "the club no one wants to be a part of." What I didn't remember was that their daughter's birthday and death anniversary date were also in May. I cried through his song, "Something Beautiful." I needed to "SEE" hope, and I got it. Hope is what carries us and gives us wings. We need those wings, for with them, we shall someday, too, fly to the Father. Holding on to hope and looking for the beautiful here.