Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Exquisite Loss

Webster's dictionary defines exquisite in several ways.  One is marked by deep sensitivity and subtle understanding.  Another is acute or intense.  Such descriptions are perfect for understanding exquisite loss.  Such loss can be from a possession or a dream.  For today, for me, it is the loss of a person.  My brother.

Most people who know me know I have 1 brother.  Know me well and you know I had two.  Know me longer and you'll know he died of a drug overdose.  That was 9 years ago today.  I have learned so much in 9 years about loss.  My brother was the first in a long line.  Between my husband and I we experienced major loss once a year every year after Josh died for 5 years in a row.  I don't mean we knew some one who died every year.  I mean we lost close loved ones, fathers, grandparents, mentors, close friends. We know the pain of loss so deep it changes not just you but your entire family, not just for a season but for the rest of your life.  So when I say I know what it means to deal with exquisite loss, I mean it.  I have experienced loss so painful that it takes your breath away, not once but everyday for years.  I have carried this pain and experienced sorrow so deep you arent sure if you can legitimately get out of bed.  I have also experienced living with loved ones who are going through ranges of emotion so wide you don't know what to do or how to help.  Afraid always of saying the wrong thing.

After 9 years, I'm always surprised at the depth of sorrow that still remains.  It catches me off guard now and again. Usually when I see people at the stage of life that he would have been at. I have learned in 9 years that it is a pain that will never go away.  It is a moment of life that I will "get over".  It was a moment when my life shattered and when I put the pieces back together, the picture was very different.  A hole that will never be filled.

But in the last 2 years, after finding Christ, I have found peace. I have learned by God's grace to let go of my anger.  I have lived through God breaking down the walls of my heart and while he has not taken the pain of that loss he has replaced it with more joy than I deserve.  I have been given a great gift and responsibility.  I have been able to share the story of my brother's life with other people.  People struggling with addiction and people struggling with exquisite loss. I have seen God use a senseless death to heal and help others.  Some days it eases this ache and gives purpose to a why.  But then there are days like today.

My brother was the first man outside of my father who made me feel like I was worth more than the life I was living. He made me feel loved and beautiful. He told me I was stupid if I didn't hold on to the man who would become my husband.  He told me he wanted to be like me when he got older.  He said wanted to make me proud. I miss him today with part of soul.

Fragile and sad, I face this day with hope that can only come from resting in the knowlege that even those who leave are never really gone.  They live on in those left behind.  They live on in the hearts of parents, and siblings, and friends.  They live on in the legacy's leave...Legacy's of love and joy and hope.

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