Building Next to Ruins (Day 156, Year 2)

I just read a sweet, little book a friend recommended called Float Plan by Trish Doller. When I began reading it, I did not expect to be anything but entertained and distracted, as I love to be with books. The book, which follows a woman grieving after her fiancĂ© dies of suicide and she runs away to sail throughout the Caribbean on a boat he restored and on a sailing route he planned, spoke to me much more than I expected. 

At one point, the author (via a main character) shares that some people on an island traditionally built their new homes next to the ruins of the homes of their ancestors--keeping the mess and the ruin of the old close by, but building something new. 

This is the perfect analogy for how I've tried to move forward in my own grief. 

I grieve many things--my dad, my brother, my friend Anna and all those loved ones who have gone. -I still grieve my daughter's cancer diagnosis and I grieve the loss of the guarantee that all children be born with to be healthy and disease-free. I grieve every moment spent in that hospital for tests and check-ups and procedures. 

Today, when I woke up and fed the dog, it struck me that it was a year ago that Lily had that second shunt failure and revision.  

That memory will not go away. That memory is one of the ruins in my mental neighborhood--there are so many around me; and there is not a way I can destroy or build over them or pretend they are not there. But, I can and I have built next to them. 

Like this year, I built a new house next to the ruins of that shunt that failed. Lily found a new place on the water with a new coach; she acted and danced and sang in five musicals; we traveled to France together. Our family celebrated and argued and laughed and celebrated some more. We planned trips to England (and another to France). We made new dreams and plans and goals; right in the shadow of grief and memories. 

The old and the new always exist together; and it is okay to remember and to look out your new window once in a while and see the ruins of the past. Those ruins are what made you--what implored you to build something new and beautiful. And when and if that new something crumbles; you can pick up and build again, right next to the ruins.