Thankful, every day.

I don’t know why one day is harder than another, sometimes.  Last week, I had one of the hard ones.  Okay, I probably set myself up, by starting my day with 2 cups of coffee and Andra’s homework binder.  Sitting on the floor.  Next to her bed.  With only the best intentions to constructively move a few things around in her room (which is quite a different thing from the furtive picking up and putting down I usually do).

I have been feeling like I should tidy up her room a little.  I don’t know why.  We use her room all the time.  Grace wants it to stay just the way it is.  It is certainly no sterile shrine to her – Grace pulls out clothes, and jewelry every day, we have used it to stage heart screenings, and Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and Andra heart Ben’s Bells.  We are in and out of it all the time.  People stay there.  Sometimes people hang out in there, just to be close to Andra. 

Maybe last Sunday, I got a little too close to Andra.  Sitting there, going through her notebook, I was living her quirkly life, reviewing what she was learning, reading her writing assignments and just feeling her energy buzzing through the notebook that she carried every day.  I can hear her, clearly.  I can see her – and more importantly, the real her.  Not the her at the end, which sometimes overpowers the real her in my mind.  I am so thankful for her, but sometimes when I feel her with me so clearly it breaks my heart all over again into such itty, bitty, tiny pieces that you can never hope to put them back together. 

Right now, I feel like we may have swept the pieces into a pile.  That’s progress.  We may have found some glue.  That’s progress.  But we are still walking around barefoot because we can’t remember to put on shoes (or else Rex the wonder dog has carried them off) and we find splintered pieces of our own broken hearts with our feet that cut and bleed.  Sometimes, we can just tend to the wound and go on, but sometimes we stumble and knock over that already  fractured pile and the shards spray out and have to be swept up again, with tears, woe and a renewal of disbelief.  How can you knock over a pile that shouldn’t even be there?  There shouldn’t be pieces.  My heart should be whole. 

Last week, Andra’s headstone was set.  It is beautiful, and at the same time the most awful thing I have ever seen.  It knocks over the pile every time I think of it.  Thankfully, this Thanksgiving, I can look back with awe at my early grief’s wisdom.  When I had it made, I knew.  I just knew that I would need to be reminded. 

So I had this carved into the back.

“I will be thankful every time I remember you.”

And with the reminder, I am. 


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