the hard love {five minute friday}

I arrived home late from a meeting last night, my mind consumed with the hours I did not spend packing the car full of vacation accoutrements, to find my fellow travellers gathered around my dining room table.

My parents.

My huband.

Wearing the sort of faces that ask you before words can form, “Are you sitting down?”

A grief determined to be earthbound weighted them to their chairs.  A four hour journey and four week seperation between us and no one could get up to bridge the gulf with a hug.

Eyes glistened too bright with patinas of tears.

My Uncle Jack had died.  Expectedly and unexpectedly.

Cancer had gnawed rat holes through his lungs, his brain, his bones.  We knew it was coming for him.  We just didn’t know it was going to arrive last night.

That’s the hard part of love.  We don’t like to think about it because it has nothing in common with roses, chocolates, and sunset walks on the beach.

It has more akin to an amputated limb.  The ghost ache.  The keen-edged memories.  The room you leave for someone to sit next to you at the table.

I write this on a day when I’m remembering the loss of someone else I hold dear.  Someone who battled valiantly for life one labored breath at a time.  In and out.  Repeat.  Three hours of suctioning and releasing life.  I know Sunday’s coming.  It’s coming with its empty tomb and promise of an eternal celebration.  But for today, I’m thinking of the hard part of love.

Uncle Jack’s beat me to the celebration.  He’s got on a snazzy white robe and keys to a mansion spinning around his fingers.  He’s dancing a jig to the tune of some Hallelujahs.

But here’s the hard part of love…we have an empty seat here at the dining room table.

My thanks to The Gypsy Mama for her timely writing prompt this week.  With just five minutes to think, write, edit, and publish, you can now enjoy my unedited thoughts on life, love, and death.  That’s my explanation (but not apology) for a raw, unedited, personal post this morning.

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  1. Jo said:

    Thank-you, Beth. The tears flow. There is a peace in the universe that pain and struggle have ended but a hole where a full life once was. Thank-you for reminding me of the empty tomb and that Jack’s heavenly place is now full.

    April 22, 2011
  2. Lisa-Jo said:

    Oh I feel this one. This raw.truth, it is beautiful and excruciating at the same time. Thank you for giving it to us.

    April 22, 2011
  3. Visceral….at times your words pierced my heart. Well written, Beth. I’m feeling your loss and praying for y’all right now (even though we’re strangers :)).

    Beautifully and tragic and LIFE.

    April 22, 2011
  4. Martha said:

    Oh Beth, my heart goes out to all of you, especially your dad as I remember how much he loved his brother. Your 5 minutes were filled with so much to think about. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered this is my dad’s first Easter in heaven, even though he celebrated his own Easter in November.

    April 22, 2011
  5. Erika said:

    I popped over from 5 Minute Fridays, and I am so thankful that I did.

    Your words spoke to my heart today. Poignant and real. Touching on the loss I’ve been carrying and feeling and reliving in these past few days. It truly is the hard part of love. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying right now for you and for your family.

    April 22, 2011
  6. john schoeneck said:

    Beth: That is one of the most beautiful stories. Dad would love it. I can almost see him smiling while spinning the keys!

    April 24, 2011
  7. Dianna said:

    I just read your post. My sympathies in the loss of someone so dear.

    April 25, 2011
  8. Johanna Schoeneck said:

    WOW! Thank you Beth. How glorious for Jack that he is whole and made pure once again. Praise the Lord.

    April 29, 2011

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