It was the shoes that got me.
The day after my dad died suddenly of a stroke, I was wandering my parents’ house, unsure of what to do. I found myself standing by the front door, confused and sleep deprived.
And then my eyes settled on my father’s shoes.
They were there by the front door, waiting for his feet.
Feet that weren’t coming back.
This evidence of an interrupted life shook me to my core. I started wandering through the house as I sobbed and noticed all the other minutia of daily life that my dad wasn’t coming home to.
The note on the table my mom left him – “don’t forget the dry cleaning.”
His dirty dishes in the sink.
His reading glasses on a table.
Everything was right where he had left it. Because my dad hadn’t planned on dying that evening before.
I keep thinking of this day as I grieve for the children and teachers of Sandy Hook. And I can’t stop thinking about all those interrupted lives.
I’m thinking about the parents and family members walking around their homes, unable to look at anything around them without seeing their child’s toys, their mother’s clothes, their wife’s hastily scribbled grocery list.
I feel dazed, unfocused, and desperately sad. It’s not the same for me as when my dad died, but there sure are some similarities.
Yet I have to pull myself together and keep going.
Life is calling.
I have two girls who need me. Daughters I can hug and love and giggle with and even yell at when they deserve it.
I have a husband who is an amazing human being, a fabulous father, and a pretty darn awesome companion.
And I have to give myself permission to keep living. To enjoy what I have. To celebrate the holidays with joy. Just as I had to after my dad died.
Nicole Knepper reminded us on her blog of these wise words from Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore:
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”
It’s okay to be completely devastated by what happened in Sandy Hook, Nicole says. But it’s also okay to be happy and appreciate your life and your family.
So, yes, I will grieve for the loss of life in Sandy Hook. I will find my own way to honor those lives lost. And I will pray.
But I will also let myself live. And smile. And enjoy life.
Because I am lucky enough that I can.
I’m praying for you, Sandy Hook. All the deceased, their families and friends, the survivors, the first responders, the whole town. All of you.
photo credit: cindy47452 via photopin cc
I’m linking up with Shell and her “Pour Your Heart Out” linkup today, 12/19. Check out Shell’s post and all the other great blog posts on Shell’s blog here.