Four years ago. Four years ago I handed this darling firefly off to be prepared for burial. Four years ago I touched her velvet skin for the last time, kissed her perfect forehead. Four years ago I smoothed each little eyelid with my fingertips, aching to see those hazel eyes spark with life. Four years ago the men dressed respectably in dark suits took her away in the black stillness of a winter's night. Four years ago today.
Generally, when this day rolls around I'm in stark denial. I don't get out of bed. I don't brush my teeth. I don't give the darkest day of the year any effort, because I don't know where to start, what to do. Today the heaviness is just as pressing as ever, but I just need to share. Share a teensy bit of her. It's good and right, I think.
Today is a bit different. I dropped Fifi off at school and now I'm sitting in a chic coffee shop in Santa Barbara, pretending to be chic in checkered vans, blazer, and Jesus Culture baseball cap. I have it on so no one sees me, so I can hide under its cover. Hopefully my ugly reading glasses help. I'm supposed to be working, but find it's hard to think of anything but Daisy, and then I found this grainy picture.
This is Daisy at her best. This is Daisy swinging from a rope at her best friend's house, surely swinging off a 300 foot cliff in her mind. This is Daisy with her unbrushed mermaid hair, her favorite striped shirt, freely charging toward adventure. This is Daisy before disease and suffering took her outer beauty and bravado and let her inner beauty shine through. There's something about this photo that makes me want to stare at it for hours: it's not quite clear enough to see the details and so leaves me longing to see and feel the real her.
The graininess of the photo made me think about this life. It's not always clear, rarely satisfying. We get the gist of the picture, but the details lack clarity. And perhaps sometimes I lack lucidity. And then I remembered it's not just me, and just like my ugly reading glasses help me to see more sharply, so the Apostle Paul encourages the Corinthians (and me) with just the same hope:
"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" 1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG
And you know what? Even as I type this, some of the heavy lifts. Even just the thought of fog clearing brings me relief. I hope it brings you some too, as I know we all have our heartbreaks, our stumbling, our unseen hurts. Peer through the grainy with me, friends. We will see clearly soon!
I'm grateful to remember her with you. There is good in the grainy, sort of an expectant sense; brimming with Christmas Eve excitement.
I guess the courage to get up on the darkest day of the year pays off.