I had purposefully not gone there since Matt died. I just couldn't face it.
A few weeks ago I gave into the stirrings that it was time to come to back to this spot, and I planned a trip with Matt's mom. Jake encouraged and supported me in going. I wanted so badly for Harper to see me face something hard for me. Of course, we did not talk about all of that. We just talked about her first dad. How much we loved being there with him. How much we miss him. She can't know how scary it was for me. But maybe when she is old she will think of me as brave. Unwilling to limit my family by backing away from potentially feeling pain.
I want people to say of me, "there goes a woman of strength." It seems as though strength is a form of art. Right now I am in the early stages. The finger painting and learning to cut stages. I want to develop the kind of strength that you consider over wine and pricey cheeses. I'm working on it.
So we went. Last week, Matt's mom, Harper, and Everett and I got in my Jeep and headed for the mountains. We took the essential items we would need. A fun part of traveling with women and children and no men is what we considered to be our essentials. A sheepskin for Everett to sleep on. A sewing machine and more fabric than clothes to wear. Chocolate and gummy bears. Nancy Drew books and Wild Kratt DVDs for the baby woman.
I was scared but determined. And do you know what? It was beautiful. I felt a happy connection to Matt. I felt celebratory of the dozen years I had with him. I felt thankful for the daughters we enjoyed together. I missed him with a fresh and deep grief, but it was a happy kind of sad. Every view from every window of the cabin and from the top of every hill reminded me of Matt. Every piece of furniture holds a vision of him resting or reading or playing cards or cooking dinner. This was Matt's favorite place. He was happiest when he was there.
In Joshua 4 Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan river. When they get to the other side he has 12 men, one per tribe, each take a stone and set them in a certain place to stand as a memorial. In that way, when their children asked what the stones were for the grown ups would tell them about that monumental day and they would remember it forever.
I very much like the idea of this. Sometimes you need a marker. A stack of rocks to look at and remember what miracles God has given you. A pile of stones to remember that God has taken my broken life and given me one that is whole. I will grieve Matt and Waverley every day of my life. I will also praise the Lord for blessing me so dearly with Jake. Everett. The constant gift of Harper. Hope for a future. Rocks for loss and pain and people lost to me. Rocks for healing. For His unfailing love. I wanted a pile of stones from this trip where the past and the present were all mixed up into one. I say I'd rather remember with jewelry.
So in our favorite place, North Moon Gallery, I picked the loveliest pair of earrings. Ones that made me happy. Ones that I would feel the weight of when I wore them. Ones that I could wear when I was sad or happy and remember all of these important things. Ones that I could someday give to Harper and tell her why they mean so much to me. Ones that I could celebrate both of her fathers while I wear them. My past and my future. Those are the kinds of rocks I can get behind.
|wearing my pile of stones|