My guess is if you have ever grieved for anyone or anything you know that grief lingers like that friend who just won't leave. Sometimes it is more like a creeper that follows you around and says SURPRISE look I am here too. Here have some feelings you would rather not have and a most inconvenient time because I don't care what time is good for you.
This is what has happened to me this morning in a coffee shop. I work here one morning a week in an attempt to be out in the community. I always bring work with me for slow days. Today is slow, so I was clearing out my email inboxes. There it was from Amazon, Birthday Reminder for Donna. My eyes began to sting with a wave of grief. Donna should be celebrating her birthday the beginning of next week, she wouldn't even be 50 yet! My sister in law who left us suddenly and tragically in 2012, asked me just weeks before she died where we would live next, when we would have more babies for her to hold and spoil. She didn't make it to my seminary graduation or ordination, she didn't get to see me installed in our new home. I didn't get to hear her ask the way only she could, why on Earth would you move THERE? I don't get texts around Halloween asking about Christmas.
Donna was my sister in law for over 20 years because of how spread out we are, my brother got married when I was around 8 years old. She helped me and my friends survive our teenage years, planned my wedding with me, rejoiced at L's birth. She was a friend, a confidant, a second mom, and this awesome bonus person I got to have in my life. We didn't always see eye to eye but we loved each other deeply which is how it goes with family. We even lived together for nearly five years.
This morning being reminded that we should be celebrating her birthday in a few days broke my heart. I suppose I could go turn off that reminder and the one that will buzz on my phone in a few days. I mean it would make sense to avoid this lingering grief every year but I can't bring myself to do it. Next Tuesday in her honor we eat dessert first. Sometimes these little grief filled reminders, remind me not just of grief but of how fleeting life is, it reminds me I am alive. That I should be living this life and not merely existing because in a moment we can be gone.
Today I am grateful for all the time I got with this woman who loved me through the hardest times in my life. I am grateful for my aching heart because it means we loved well and made memories together and that she lives on in me.