This is my first blog post in a long, long time. Grief is complicated.
Flannery O’Connor said, “The truth does not change according to our
ability to stomach it.” I return to this wisdom again and again.
I miss Jack, everything about him. I miss his smile and his awkward but
very frequent hugs. I miss the way he relaxed into every situation. He filled
our home with his easy presence. I miss how he settled in and, in his kind
way, cared for me. He spent time with me every afternoon, drinking tea,
watching one program on Netflix or a Reds game on TV. I loved him so
much, I watched “Game of Thrones” with him, and he loved me so much,
he watched it with me.
When he moved into the double on Burgess Avenue with Dylan, he filled
that space with his easy presence. Their neighbor, Stephanie, with whom
they shared a front porch, still tells me how much she misses Jack. He
would sit reading on the porch swing and greet Dylan when he got home
from work: “Did you sell any cars today?”
Jack was interested in others. He cared about his friends, and he cared
about this world. He was grounded in the truth he sought. He did not bend
to the fashions of the day, and he did not seek approval from others, not
even as a child. He stood up for what he believed; he stood up for those in
need. Jack saw value in everyone he met and—because he knew who he
was—he was curious about others and reached out to enter their world. He
never thought the world was centered on him. He was passionate and so
much fun to be around. I miss him, his physicality.
But if I have learned anything in the past two years, it is that Jack is very
much still with me. His presence, his easy presence, is still here, somehow.
He is with God and he is with us, in a different way, in a powerful way.
Warriors for Peace began the day we buried Jack—not formally, but that is
the day that called forth our response to the evil that took him. Our
response to the darkness and division in our world today. God is bringing
good from Jack’s death, and Jack is working to keep us together, growing
in unity and love.
“For human beings, this is impossible, but for God, nothing is
impossible.” Matthew 19:26
Please, let’s pray for one another. Prayers for courage and strength to
be the love this world needs. Tenderness to reach out to friends and family.
To celebrate and find the joy and beauty of this gorgeous world we live in.
To laugh and love as Jack continues to laugh and love with us.
As I write this, I am sitting in a chapel at Maria Stein Retreat Center,
experiencing the love of Jesus in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. So
beautiful and healing of my broken heart. I am at my annual Carmelite
retreat, and without the encouragement and sacrifice of friends who stayed
behind a day to be with me on the painful anniversary of Jack’s death, I
would not be here. Thank you, Robin and Chris. I love you.
Thank you, God. Thank you for my Carmelite vocation that forms me,
prays for me, and holds me in community and love. Thank you, dearest
family, dearest friends, dearest Warriors for Peace, dearest mothers who
share my grief.
Queen, Beauty of Carmel, pray for us.