You know that part of Voldemort that lives within Harry...until it gets killed and looks (in the movie) a bit like a bbq'ed chicken curled up under that random bench? Weird, yes? Well I've decided a part of death's aftermath lives inside of me. Only, I won't ever be able to rid myself of it. I don't have a magic wand, or a Dumbledore, or a Severus Snape. And no matter how valiantly I fight, no matter how much time passes and how much healing occurs, no matter how much unwavering faith I have...death's sting never truly leaves me. It's my understanding there are women who have experienced circumstances similar to mine & no part of death's aftermath lives within them. I don't know what that would be like. But I do know (with every fiber of my being), for whatever reason, that isn't the way God has decided it will work for me. I'm okay with that.
Today I was happily going about my business, and shopping at Hobby Lobby (ohhhh how I love that place). I was in a terrific mood, buying supplies needed for making a cute gift box with awesome ribbons and bows...I think I'd like to do that for a living, wrap gifts. But, I digress. I walked through the store, enjoying my alone time, pretty much without a care in the world. As I stepped up to the counter to check out, that's when it happened. A fierce punch, right in the gut. One powerful enough to make me feel queasy. True, it was a figurative punch, but I must say I think I would have preferred a literal punch.
As I stood, waiting to check out, I looked to my left. Aisles and rows and shelves full of Fall decorations lined the store. In that moment, and completely unexpectedly, it all came flooding back to me...the smells, the hurt, the sadness, the fear. Death. For a few brief seconds (that actually felt more like an eternity), I felt every pain of 16 years ago. As quickly as it came, it was gone. As quickly as it had shown itself from deep within me, it vanished.
I didn't have to run to the car in an effort to hide my tears. I didn't lose my composure. I was reminded that it's still there, a part of death's aftermath living inside of me. I was reminded that it can punch me in the gut; however, it does not control me. I paid for my things and loaded the car. I thought of how writing about the experience would ease my heavy heart...and hopefully, I pray, someone else's as well. And then, I stopped thinking about it. I began thinking about the next errand on my list. But throughout the afternoon I've been reminded that this.just.never.ends. And clearly, the Fall season has a hold on me that will never let go. I'm just grateful it's a gentle hold more often than not, delivering less frequent & not-so-long-lasting gut punches.