Trees in the Forest

Julia the little treehugger

Julia the little treehugger

Someone said over a recent cup of coffee that in these early days of grief I should try focusing on the immediate concerns facing me and not think too far ahead because the future spanning before me is uncertain and unimaginable. I smiled and nodded while blowing on the steam billowing from my cup but I find that advice is easier to adhere to in theory rather than practice.

Day in and day out, I just keep myself moving. A day passes in quick succession with lunch packing, meetings at my office, bedtime prayers as the blips on the even keel in our day and clinging desperately to the routine keeps me, and us, in the moment. But at times I move my eyes from the tall pine tree of “right now” that I imagine three inches from my nose and behold the forest entire and the immensity of the boughs and trunks around me feels too much. I want to scream, “This is not how my life should be!” while simultaneously asking how my life should be? Why should I be immune from hurt and grief? But as the thick brush of foliage surrounds me my mind goes to the places of “Why?” and “That’s not fair!” my feet stamping the soft earth like a petulant child. I imagine the months, years, decades spanning ahead of me and Julia and it seems impossible that we will face it without Wesley, our consummate cheerleader and supporter, by our sides.

I cannot help but look at Julia and think of how much she will change and grow and see and experience in her lifetime and how much Wesley would have loved to watch and mold this young child whom he loved so very dearly. With each hug from her tight little arms around my neck I mourn that Wesley will never feel that, and she will never again feel his strong and secure arms around her either. Julia has a distinct love of language and frequently talks of things being “splendid” “enchanted” or “absolutely hil-ar-ious” I smile because she is so very dramatic and Wesley would have loved that, to see her rolling these words around like marbles in her mouth while gesturing emphatically with her little hands. Wesley loved language and made a living of the beautiful crafting of words, he’d just love it to see this little person painting the canvas of her world with expressive verbal watercolors as well. I find such joy in Julia, but the pain of what I’m blessed to see that Wesley may not colors my moments of joy and I find my smile quickly fades from my lips.

I take solace in that Wesley does see, hear and know what we are doing here on earth. I imagine him laughing and smiling as he looks down on us from his heavenly vantage point. A childish image perhaps, but it gives my mind comfort and is easily explained to Julia. As I stand looking at the vast forest surrounding me I sometimes find a soft breeze rustling the leaves and whispering “Peace, peace” quieting my aching mind. With the love and help of those closest to me I find a way to wipe my tears, steady my breath and focus once again on the thin, flaking bark right in front of me.

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