On This Day - to grieve, or rejoice?
Two months ago today, we lost the littlest member of our family.
Four years ago today, my aunt died in a tragic car accident.
And seventeen years ago today, my oldest brother, the one who made me a big sister, was born.
This week is unarguably one of the busiest weeks in the year for us. With four birthdays in the space of six days, this week is known as "birthday week" to us. In some ways, it's like Christmas broken up and spaced out over those six days. The rush and busyness, the last minute treat-making, the hurriedly wrapping gifts, and the celebrating.
But in all the busyness, there is grief and reflections.
Losing a sibling was/is undoubtedly one of the hardest things I've walked through. I never even met her, and yet the ache is so deep. I don't understand the why.
"Why?" Was brought up a few weeks ago, when we released balloons together as a family, to honor life that was so short lived. Esther wanted to to know why. I do too, honestly. I'm not bitter, but I don't understand.
Hannah told her that maybe it was because God didn't have any of "us" in heaven with Him, and He wanted that. Maybe so. And that's just fine. I wouldn't blame Him for wanting one of "us" to join Him.
Losing an aunt was also one of the hardest things I've ever been through. Until she died, I didn't know grief could be that great - but at the same time, I knew my pain was nothing compared to that of her parents and siblings.
She was the aunt that all the nieces and nephews adored. She always had time for them, played with them. Some of my siblings called her "The Aunt Amy Person".
I remember, right after she died, but before we knew any more than that there had been bad accident, standing on the porch, with my arms wrapped around a younger aunt - two years younger than myself. I was trying to comfort her. I wanted so badly to tell her that it would be alright, everything would be okay. But I couldn't. Something wouldn't let it come out.
And when the family found out that Amy had died instantly, I knew why I couldn't promise that everything was going to be alright.
And that brother. It's his birthday. A day of rejoicing. Birthdays should be happy things, not dark clouds over us, grief of those who are no longer here.
Yet there are so many things to grieve, ponder, reflect on, on this 29th of May, on his 17th birthday.
But I have a choice.
I can mourn, and in some ways I will. But I can also rejoice. I can rejoice in the short time we had with the baby, and the joy she brought to our family. I can rejoice and be grateful for the time we did have with my aunt, and the knowledge that she is in a better place - at the feet of Christ.
Is this a day of mourning? Yes. But even more so, a day to rejoice, a day to celebrate not only the life we are still surrounded by, but also the lives we were part of for just a short time.