key change

This weekend, after spending some time with Daddy J and the sculptor at the park figuring out the statue’s orientation, I walked with Rainbow downtown to meet the Fishmaster and buy him a treat. It was a glorious, glorious, warm, bright day.

We passed by the house of a very recently widowed neighbor. She was sweeping cobwebs off her porch. I wheeled the stroller over to her to exchange greetings.

She admired his beauty and studied me for a minute and said, “It’s good to see you happy.”

We chatted for a bit; I didn’t bring up her husband because I remember being refreshed in those early grieving times by having a few minutes of normal, pleasant conversation that didn’t bring up loss and pain. Rainbow and I strolled on.

So many people have commented that I seem happier now and/or that I look better. Partly because the adoption uncertainty is over, partly because I’m not taking hormones or anything messing with my body, and mostly because it’s just so joyful to take care of a sweet baby – I know it’s true.

Walking on down the street, I thought about how people don’t like it when other people are hurting. It’s a huge relief when the bad time is over for people they care about, one way or another. And I thought about shockingly offensive it was when someone told me that, because we donated Ward’s organs, “all this has had a happy ending.” As if it were a tidy package of loss and rebirth that we can wrap up and put on the shelf and give a pat to now and then. It’s not ended; his story’s not over and neither is ours.

I thought, Is it a whole new chapter now, though?, and that’s not really it either.

It’s more that the whole thing is our symphony, with layers and movements and a wide array of moods and tempos. The dark, minor dirge doesn’t have the best dance beat, but it has a beauty all its own, and it adds richness and contrast to the whole package. And it fits into the whole work; it has an important place among the playful light twittering and the bold marches and the elegant waltzes. It belongs. It helps tie together the movements that come before and after. And, like all the movements, it has echoes of the same simple phrase that is repeated throughout this symphony, the defining phrase that makes it recognizable as ours even out of context with the whole.

Ours might not be a work of solely key-of-C-sunny-brightness, but that’s okay. It’s beautiful, it’s complicated, and it’s all ours.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Debra
    May 18, 2009 @ 18:10:51

    Beautifully written.

  2. clara
    May 18, 2009 @ 18:14:34

    This was so well said, I loved it.

  3. Meghan Cobble
    May 19, 2009 @ 12:42:11


    I like that.

    Sometimes people, not truly knowing they are doing it, just want things to be wrapped up pretty in a package, opened, adored, and then put away only to be admired every now and then.

    When sadness or hurt comes, it interrupts this overall concept of what we all wish for in one way or another.

    That’s why it is so hard to do or say the right thing for someone you ache for. People just want to “fix” it so it can hurry up and be put away only for opening and admiring to begin again.

    I find myself guilty of this process if I don’t remain cognicent of the journey and to use your word, layers.

    Your words are simply complex and beautifully sung in this post.

    I admire your love for your life. For your boys. For your husband. For your journey-the good and the hard.

    .mac 🙂

  4. KatieC
    May 20, 2009 @ 22:30:57

    Beautiful to read, you are an amazing writer!

  5. Kelli
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 03:39:21

    This is super..very well written and very well FELT.

  6. Cathy
    Jun 09, 2009 @ 04:49:40

    it’s been 6 years, 5 months, and 3 days for me. The hardest part has been seeing her friends that are now turning 15, when she will forever be 7 and I will never know that young women, only that bright little girl..
    The zoo we gave her memorial $$$ to has her waterfall memorial revamped and it looks great. I need to buy flowers for it and jazz it up.
    AS time goes on, the reminders lessen in number, but increase in intensity. Our little girl that was born 3 years after her older sister’s death had her first T-Ball game today. There was a little girl on the opposing name that had the same unusual name as the daughter we lost.
    And they kept calling her name. Right behind me. Over and over. And the best I could do was put on this stone smile while my living daughter looked at me for approval. And I think, have I completely lost it and did I simply have nothing else to lose?

    So yes, you are right. Ward’s story is not over, far from it. It’s only to the outsiders that the appearance of your life takes a comfortable shape, right?

    I wish we were strangers to this odd world you and I inhabit.

  7. thisbumpyjourney
    Jun 10, 2009 @ 20:34:52

    I wish we didn’t know about all this longing and pain, too, Cathy. Strange knowledge, huh.

    That must have been so hard at your daughter’s T-ball game. Things like that just come out of the blue sometimes. You were so strong to smile down at your daughter during that. Sigh.

    I wonder what it will be like as Rainbow grows – will he get tired of hearing about Ward and how much we love him? Curious/sad about not getting to know this boy in all the pictures? Not really very interested at all…?

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