Dealing with Loss by Celebrating Life

When you've lost someone, in the worst of ways, or maybe at all, is it possible that celebrating life to its fullness is the best salve to put on the scab that is pulled off the wound every year?

Today would have been the birthday when he was eligible for drawing social security. It could have been enough to make a difference. To keep him going. Instead, believing he was facing homelessness, he wrote a note and quit.

As a clinching my fists and shaking them at heaven, asking why, and what if, on this day every year I try to see the colors brighter, roll the windows down, drink the coffee a bit stronger, smile more, cry a little, extend grace, accept grace. I call my mom, so she can hear the voice of one of her kids, because parents aren't supposed to bury their children. Ever.

Spending it with little people is always a good idea, because they still live life in the moment. No one has told them otherwise. I spent today with two grandchildren, and while one was at daycare for a bit I took seven year old Miss Addie for a morning with Grammy.

We started at Starbucks, a rare treat, since I live an hour away from the nearest one. We had the fattening, over-priced breads they sell, because some days you just need to do that.

Miss Addie got her nails painted. She chose green with glitter.

We decided at the last minute to do toes too. Good decision. 

Then we headed to the water pad, where she was allowed to run to her heart's content I didn't once tell her to be careful. 

I did some people-watching, and photo-shooting, for an upcoming assignment. 

I love shots from behind. Unless they're of me.

My day might have been complete, just to see the look on this mother's face, as she looked at her little boy. Love her pink braces too. Isn't it beautiful?

Unbridled joy. Miss Addie could care less if there's another soul in the world right now. We should all do that once in awhile, more often if possible.

I could take him home. 

There's a reason God gave women the hips he did. Loved this woman's hair too.

Skinny boys doing I have no idea what.


This little mini-mall has the most beautiful sculptures of children. 

Another Grammy I suspect.

Brown and pink - great color combination.

Skinny boy daydreaming.

Keeping it between friends.

Watchful mamas.

The day, the week he died, I found myself driving twenty miles an hour below the speed limit. Sitting at green lights. Not answering when someone spoke to me. I told myself after this I'd remember to extend grace. To that person dilly-dallying in traffic, or the woman who forgot to get out her debit card in the line at the grocery. Or that clerk who was grouchy, or that person who didn't weigh their words before they spoke them to me. Being human, I sometimes forget. Often I remember.

Because of him, I spend time at our church's food and clothing pantry. Sometimes I see his face walk in the door, and I re-remember him. And once a year, on this day, I honor him, who gave up on life, by seeing it fully and embracing it with all I've got.

Happy Birthday to my brother, Jerry. Still miss you.


Barb said…
I love the pink braces too and the pink on brown and so many other things about these beautiful photos, I could go on forever.

I miss him too. I sit on my patio with my first cup of coffee every morning and it's usually pretty early. Hummingbirds are hovering all around me, the sun is coming up and the whole world feels fresh. And every single morning, I think to myself, "Oh, Jerry, you are missing another beautiful day."

He had his problems, his faults but he loved nature so. It breaks my heart that he is no longer here to enjoy a new day and all the possibilities it brings.

Yes. I miss him too.
Dwain Boaz said…
Today is and was a hard day for me. Here it is almost midnight and I am still awake. 5 am comes early when you don't sleep much the night before. But I have a roof over my head and friends and family that care very much for me and my well-being. When I think of how back something is I think of the many who have so much less. I pray that they will find the peace and comfort that they seek. To my brother, I still miss you and wish things were so different. I look forward to being able to sit and chat with you again someday in the future. Love you so much. Dwain

Momma said…
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Toni said…
My sister-in-law lost her brother the same way this spring....and it was the second brother in her family. :'( She's having SUCH a hard time coping (there are other, very painful things going on her life at the same time.) I love that you have taken an absolute tragedy and found one shard, one facet with which to reflect the light of God's love. I hope my SIL can find that place too. I hope.
Karen said…
Bless you, sweet Bev. I love the hope that can be found in this post in the midst of the grief and heartache. I'm glad we serve a God who is in the business of redeeming.

Love and blessings, Karen
Sammy said…
I am so sorry. What a tremendous loss. I can't begin to imagine.

Beautiful photos. You really capture a person's spirit.
Anonymous said…
This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart. And thank you for reminding me to extend grace.

Lori in PA

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