You know when you are searching for one thing and you find another? Like when you look in your bag for a pen and you find a random sock or perhaps the TV remote (from the beach house you rented)?
In those situations it is like the clutter and chaos of life give you a sudden case of amnesia. And then magically, when you are searching for something unrelated, there you find it: the TV remote or the missing soccer sock, you were sure was eaten by the dryer.
Grief and it chaos created the same sudden amnesia. It makes you misplace your identify. Grief very handily makes you forget you were before you lost whatever it was you lost.
Today marks two years since I delivered my younger brother’s eulogy. He’s been gone two years and a week or so.
The grief I carried for 2 years (and a week or so) is very heavy. It is a grief that depletes my energy—springing upon my shoulders, digging its nails in and coming along at the most inconvenient times.
Grief is a regular dance partner of mine.
But my brother’s death did not only leave me with grief. Death has a way of leaving you with other gifts—real gifts—memories and wisdom and insights.
Today, I was looking for something to write about. I went searching for David’s eulogy, so I could write extensively about the grief I carry. I was looking for the deepest grief—proof of my sorrow. I was sure I’d find it in his eulogy. But instead I found this, which I wrote, but had forgotten:
“As much as I feel myself filled with grief and sorrow—and it feels so right to rest in the grief—today and everyday need to be a celebration of my brother. The man, the son, the friend, the uncle and the brother who loved music, who loved to dance, who grabbed everyone by the wrist, pulled them out of their comfort zone and invited them to dance, who celebrated the Sabbath with joy that rocked his whole body and conducted choirs without asking for permission, who laughed at every joke with an open mouth and a joyous twinkle in his bright blue eyes, who greeted friends and strangers with handshakes and bear hugs, who brought tissues and empathy to the broken, who hosted dance parties for his nieces and nephew, who ate every meal as if it was his last, who was born to be the beloved uncle Davey, who held onto his earthly body even as it failed to give five other families a miracle on this earth, who was underestimated until his dying breath, but now lives forever with Christ and will forever live in the music and the laughter and the dance in our lives, until we meet again. Today, we celebrate this great man and vow to celebrate him every time we are tempted to ignore a stranger and everyday it seems easier to offer a rebuff instead of a tissue to the broken.”
For the first time in 2 years and a week or so, I did not find grief. I found I am carrying something else: his life. I carry it with dance parties with my kids in the kitchen, with my attempts to open my heart to strangers, when I find others pulling me out of my comfort zone, when I enjoy a really good meal and with all the friends—old and new—who love me despite of my messy, brokenness.
I forgot I was carrying David’s life within my own. Grief may be there too, for now, I am happy to simply forget I have it.