My One Little Word for 2015 was “discover.” I feel now like the housekeeper in the Bing Crosby movie White Christmas when she says, “sometimes you find out things you wish you hadn’t.” How could I have known that I’d discover what it was like to watch my 32 year old daughter-in-law lose her battle with metastatic melanoma? Or that I’d learn that hearts really do ache when they’re broken?
Everything else I discovered this year has the shadow of Julia’s death hanging over it. We’ve gone back to a semblance of daily life; I’ve even done most of the Christmas baking I usually do. But thoughts of Julia and Michael are never far from the surface. My grief for their lost life together is sometimes paralyzing, as is my worry about Michael’s life to come.
I know that our family is not the only family missing a loved one this holiday season. Sadly, the headlines have been too full of violent and untimely loss. That doesn’t make it any easier.
I’m not sure I’ll choose a word for 2016. Maybe I’m being superstitious, but it feels like tempting fate. Or maybe I will choose a word. That word is love. Because love is truly what has helped us all survive the past four months. And maybe that’s the most important discovery of all.
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