To this date, I’ve not lost a parent to death. Though I can tell you there are other hard circumstances where one feels as if they lost their parents and that a funeral would be simpler to grieve.
I met Kate for the first time at the Breathe Writers Conference. As part of the Five Minute Friday community, it was fun to chat without a keyboard.
When she sent out the email asking for readers and people willing to commit to the launch team, I kind of thought there must be other people more qualified to do this than me. Letting me read her story and know this part of her beyond the writerly chats over cups of coffee felt so deeply personal. Her descriptions of Holland and her family and the emotional struggles and questions riveted me.
Since I wasn’t born in West Michigan, I field the typical questions (where are you from?) with a strong sense of who is asking before I open my mouth. Home, for me, isn’t where I was born or grew up or even where my parents live. Home is truly here in West Michigan. I wish I could slap one of those Michigan “hand” car decals that declare “native” on my van but alas, I’m only a native in my heart of hearts.
Early in our dating experience when he came to Illinois each Friday and those strong flannel-shirted arms would hug me, my heart understood. This man is my home.
So now, every time we drive under that gorgeous blue sign proclaiming “Pure Michigan!” on our way home, his blue eyes bring a smile to my face and a blissful sigh. There’s no other place I’d rather be.
Over the last almost 15 years of marriage and 13 years of parenting, I’ve realized home is a place most people don’t question and rightly so. It’s supposed to be the place one is known most and deepest and embraced. When these basic things are questioned and answers either evade or can’t be found, one wields control or hides.
Dealing with your own questions as you have to continue slogging on as a wife and parent is daunting and scary. I’ve tried to control the uncontrollable parts of my life. I’ve hidden behind many things so I didn’t have to deal with the missing pieces. I’ve even blamed God.
Kate’s words on the struggle are perhaps some of my favorite in the whole book:
“My life sprawled out between the parentheses of two continents. This living in the ‘in between’ – between the fall and redemption, the already and the not yet, between hope’s longing and fulfillment. Where time passes with the click of a mouse and drags like a whiny toddler down a grocery store aisle. Where graves are dug and happiness buried. Where bees and words sting, and hopes are ripped off like stubborn bandages. Where victory has been accomplished but Christ has not yet returned.“
Words born out of pain and heartache always touch the deepest. These were no exception.
There were times I found myself laughing right out loud and many more where the tears dripped off my face as her words spoke right to the broken places in my heart. I know there are a lot of “somedays” spoken of too. There will be death of our parents someday. There may even be a battle with a disease. But the hope that shouts to me over all the pain is based solidly on Christ.
Someday this will be a book to read again and remind myself that cancer is not the end and even in that moment… even in the pain… God still loves me and will hold me no matter what.
Themes: Home, grief, joy, searching, struggle, faith, and ultimately how all of those things are found in one Person.
A reader who has lived through any amount of life. You will get this.
You need to know the hope in the midst of the pain.
Thank you, Kate. Thank you for sharing this deepest journey and letting us glimpse the story God has given you.