We moved my parents into a smaller, one-level house a couple of weeks ago so they wouldn’t have to negotiate stairs anymore. They lived in an old, 2-story farm-house for the past 22 years. Now they live in a different house in a different town.
All. The. Time.
Whether we’re ready for it or not.
The seasons change. I’ve always loved that. I love the vivid colors of leaves on the trees in autumn. I love the starkness when the leaves fall off the trees in late autumn. I love the simple black and white and every shade of gray during winter. I love snow….lots and lots of snow! (With all my loved ones safely home by the fire, sipping hot chocolate, of course.) I love the smell and feel of the air in the spring, and the beauty of color returning to the earth. And, who doesn’t love the warm, carefree days of summer? I count on air-conditioning, but I love summer for the laid back, “let’s do something fun outside” feel.
Change is a normal, expected part of life.
Good, positive change is the kind of change we all hope for.
Tragic, unexpected change is also a normal part of life, but we don’t expect it so we aren’t usually prepared for it. But it is a normal part of life here on this planet.
My family experienced a sudden, unexpected, tragic altering of our lives two years ago. And we are still trying to find stable ground beneath our feet.
The earth continued to revolve around the sun. Time didn’t stop for us as we searched for some sort of healing when one of us was torn from our family without any warning. The sun continued to shine. Our remaining children had to continue going to work and raising their children.
I felt like my world stopped, though. In fact, I felt like I wasn’t breathing for the first year and a half or so.
It seems, lately, like my world is beginning to move along again, although it still sputters, jerks and stops at times. I can usually count on at least one day a week being a crying day, and I have a little cry every other day. But I don’t feel like I’m in a fog everyday, all day long anymore, though I do still have those days where I realize, after the fact, that someone just said something to me and I looked them in the eye, nodded and perhaps even verbally responded, but had no idea what they said. I don’t have ADHD, and I think I was a fairly focused person before our son died, so this is a very disconcerting thing for me.
But, I digress. I didn’t intend to discuss my feelings when I started this blog post. I was thinking about change. My mom always said, as I was growing up and into my early 30s, that change was more difficult for me than any of her other four children. When we moved up to the Kansas City area from the area I grew up in, the southern Missouri area, I cried and moped around and got about as depressed as any 9-year-old can be, until my parents let me go back down to where we moved from and I stayed with my grandma for several weeks every summer until she moved up to where we lived. I couldn’t handle the change. (I also was seriously attached to my grandma, and only felt like my family was whole when I was around her.)
I have learned to embrace change, though. I gave birth to five children. How could I not learn to embrace change? Every time I thought I had parenting figured out, the little urchins would change, and I would have to figure out what was effective again. And every time we added another child to the mix, the dynamics of our family once again changed. For many years we were in a constant state of flux, always adjusting to another beautiful and welcome change.
Although death is a very normal and expected part of life, it is not usually a beautiful and welcome change. We usually view death as something horrible, dreadful, and always off in the distant future. Then life happens; normal, ordinary life. We all die. I’ve heard the expression, “no one gets out of here alive”. This is true. The Bible says it this way: “…….it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment……”. We will all die.
It is Halloween night. Having moved my 81-year-old parents into a new house in a new neighborhood a mere 2 weeks ago, I thought it would be helpful for my honey and I to go over to their house and help them pass out candy to the neighborhood kids. We all sat on their porch together, on a beautifully mild October evening, and chatted between visits from costume-clad little ones. It was a delightful time. Then my children showed up, and changed the atmosphere from delightful to ignited with energy, cuteness, love and snuggles from sticky grandbabies. I adore every second with them. I think my heart will burst with love and pride over my grown-up children with their beautiful babies.
Here I am, 55 years old. I have four living children, four beautiful grandchildren, and 81-year-old parents that I moved closer to my husband and I so we could be around more quickly if and when they need us.
“I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Hebrews 1:17
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Thank you, God, that You do not change.