Back in my late twenties, I knew what I wanted my life to look like. I knew I wanted to be married, and have children, and it was discouraging to watch each year fly by and not have my reality be any closer to my dream. I remember crying to a friend, “If I just knew that it would turn out okay, that I would meet someone, if I just knew that God had someone for me – even if it’s not for a few years – then I think this would be easier. I could do this, live through this loneliness, because I would know that it was going to happen.”
And he wisely admonished me, “No, you couldn’t. Because you’d waste every day between now and then. You wouldn’t really live and you’d give up the happiness of these days because you’d be waiting for something else.”
I have to remind myself of that conversation a lot lately. Because right now? This THIS that I’m living? It’s even harder. I miss Kevin every minute. It’s been almost six months since the last time he said, “I love you, baby doll” and I still wake up every morning, expecting to roll over and have those words erase the knot of fear that ragged dreams left in my stomach. And when grief and living and the hours of the day have finally exhausted me and I collapse in bed afraid of what I might dream, I need those words to calm me, to reassure me that someone’s there with me.
In those moments, I think, If I just knew when I’d see him again. How long do I have to wait to see him again? Because I foolishly think if I knew, if I just KNEW, how many years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds – if I could make a paper chain and take a link off each day, like a child counting down to Christmas – then, THEN, maybe I’d be okay.
In my more logical moments, I know that wouldn’t work. Because, like my friend predicted, I would miss every day between now and then. Those precious days that Kevin fought so hard for, I would waste them, not really live them the way we learned how to live, the way we taught our daughter to live. I would be giving up the grace and beauty that God still wants me to find and experience every day.
I have a beautiful daughter, the spitting image of her Daddy, and she’s a force of nature. She takes every day and squeezes out more life and laughter than anyone would think possible. I can’t imagine rushing her through each day, hurrying her happiness along just because I’m desperate to tear another link off my paper chain and get to Kevin faster. I want to see him, but it can’t be at the expense of squandering time with my vibrant little bear. It’s inconceivable that I could wish away that kind of joy and spirit. The kind of joy and spirit that God knew she would bring to my life, that He knew I would need in my life.
So I sit with her and I listen to her and I watch her and I hug and kiss her and we hold the broken bits of life together. While I wait and, again, always, trust in God’s timing, my daughter reminds me to live. To be happy. To laugh and thank God for everything, even when I don’t understand it all.
I read her blessing last night and, as has happened too often lately, it turned to life after death. God promises that Kevin was with him in the blink of an eye. That as I sat watching over him, holding my breath waiting for his next labored one, he inhaled here on earth and exhaled in heaven, the breath squeezed from him by God’s welcoming hug. And as my little Bear read on, tears slid silently down my cheeks because the blessing asked, “Who is it that you most want to see?” and she smiled and exclaimed, “Daddy!”
The joy of her response echoes in my heart: I most want to see Kevin.
And someday I will. Even though this time I know what’s going to happen — I will see Kevin again in heaven — it still doesn’t make waiting any easier.
But I have to. I have to wait and trust…and live.
Wait on the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait. Psalm 27:14