Mom once said to me, "Have you ever noticed how Chip closes his eyes when he hugs you or the kids? It's like he's just drinking y'all in."
Chip died two years ago today. Some days it feels like a lifetime ago, and on other days, the memories can resurface, and I can feel it just like it was yesterday.
They say time heals all wounds. While not fully accurate, I do believe it to be mostly true. Time has allowed the acute pain and suffering to pass. Time has allowed me the space to grieve the loss of Chip and process those years we spent "living with cancer." In time, I have mostly healed both physically and emotionally from the toll the two+ years spent walking the tightrope between being in "fight or flight" or "present and grateful" mode took on me. Time has afforded me the opportunity to move forward.--not on but forward. Time has shown me such joy, JOY like I have never known, can exist on the very heels of experiencing such deep, true sorrow.
But does time truly heal all wounds? I think this quote by Cheryl Strayed best captures how I feel about it, "When you recognize that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them, that you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them, that you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them? The word for that is healing." And I thank God for that!!
As I was looking back through some pictures and videos last night, these three jumped out at me--Chip holding Crosby after returning home from a week long stay at Johns Hopkins June of 2014, our last round of chemo in the infusion suite at JH December 19, 2014 and Chip, on the night of his 34th birthday on December 23, 2014, snuggled up with Joe. I remembered what Mom had said. I think she was right and he was soaking us in, but now I know he was simultaneously pouring himself into us, because Chip lives in us and remains with us now and forever.
In life’s most joyful moments and in the darkest of hours and seemingly impossible circumstances, there is grace. Abundant grace always abounds if you allow yourself to see it. This I know, and these are my lessons in grace.
Read about what came before Sweetness Follows at TeamKennett.com.