Stumbling Toward the Light

"We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly" -- Madeleine L'Engle

A collection of thoughts and messages I wrote after my daughter died May 17, 2000. Primarily this blog is concerned with grief, bereavement, the death of a child, hope, courage and a tough faith journey.

Location: Kansas, United States

Husband, father of four, friend, dog owner, owned by a cat, Episcopalian, last liberal Republican left in the U.S.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

There Are Places I Remember...

[written for the Racine/Kenosha WI Compassionate Friends March, 2011 newsletter]

For months after Rachel's death Diana and I would avoid driving anywhere near the children's hospital where she'd died. The pain was so intense. The fact that the hospital was in a large urban center we often had to drive through made travel a bit comical at times diverting five miles out of the way. Ten years later I can smile at that man who drove so far out of his way to avoid that searing pain of seeing a building. I understand why he did it though and I do not knock him.

Many of us have places which bring out the pain of grief powerfully within us... a church or synagogue, a school, a playground, perhaps a bedroom in our house or a favorite camping site. We ache at the sight of these places gripped by a yearning for what will never be again... the memories turning in our brains, jabbing at our hearts. We may turn away suddenly as though slapped hard or stare empty eyed, weak in the knees. Tears, anger, guilt or just a heaviness in the air might smother us.

Sometimes we have to face these places. We have to pass them or even enter them frequently if not daily... the work room in the basement, the baseball diamond down the block, the expressway home or the cemetery within sight of our front door. We may deer-in-the-headlight
the journey or just suck it up and deal with it.

Life is a journey through places touched by people, animals, activities and events that leave their mark on us... an imprint if you will. These places can entice our senses into memories long after the people and events have passed. The key for me in overcoming the intensity of those place-related memories that brought Rachel and her life experiences to mind was in eventually accepting the pain and the memories related to a place. In the end I came to treasure those
memory places, the good, the bad and the ugly as "historical markers"... settings in the life of this amazing person, my daughter though, years later, some can still poke at my heart as I pass them