Grief is a sneaky house guest.
When it first arrives, Grief is either anticipated or uninvited, but in either case, Grief brings a lot of loud friends with it--anger, regret, sorrow. I could go on.
For over a year now, Grief has lurked outside on the front porch. Then it moved in for a while, and seemed to move out as we "went on." This summer, Grief burst into our living room again. Finally, in September, it looked like Grief had packed its bags and decided to leave.
October 11 means one year since Eddie's gone. Everyone we lose leaves a hole that must be filled in. Sometimes we feel guilty for filling the hole. Or other times we ignore it and pretend there isn't a hole, and we stumble into it.
I can tell the change in the atmosphere. CJ's grief has somehow slipped through our back door and seated itself at the table. Even snagged a cup of coffee, of all the nerve. Mine has too, for him, and for what should have been and never was.
Even now, I look back and wish Eddie's story had read differently. But in the end, the liver cancer took him quickly. He and CJ had lost years because of the rift between them because of Eddie's alcoholism. No one wants to lose their little brother at 42.
So what now? Grief has flickered again. The fresh pain has made me wish for Eddie back, to be with CJ and make up for all that lost time. It's made me miss Carla anew and wish for one more chance to hear her laugh and for another chance to reach out to her. And she's only been gone four months. But what a four months.
What do we do when Grief flickers again? Let it have its say, and then allow it to leave. Eddie will never come through our front door and ask to borrow an extension cord (only to not return it). Carla's not going to call us (not that she had called in over a year and a half before her death, but that's a whole other story). We won't have a chance to rebuild relationships, fractured by human fear and frailty.
But God in His wisdom gives us time that heals. And it is our choice if we live in that land called "If Only." I won't let Grief talk me into moving there.