"...to make an end is to make a beginning."
T. S. Eliot
Jill and I don’t know how to feel today, the last day of 2008. We are torn between tears and cheers. This is the last day of a year our daughter walked this earth with us. At the same time, 2008 is the year she was taken away. Rachel will not see this New Year, or any other for that matter. Every subsequent year will simply be another year without her.
This past weekend we watched CBS Sunday Morning, and they profiled the notable individuals who had passed away this year. Rachel didn’t make the list, of course, because a drunk driver deprived her of the chance to realize her potential. The world will never know the great things she could have done.
Today began like so many others: with tears. We ended a daily devotional book, Healing After Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman, that we have been reading through this past year. It felt like another ending was being thrust upon us, as if even this grief were something that must be left behind. To me, at this stage, grief feels like my last link to my dead daughter, the last string stretched thin to breaking. I know this is not true. Love is the tie that binds us together eternally and cannot be broken. But my heart is not there yet.
I am glad this year is over. At the same time, I fear what new horrors the New Year may hold. I want to be hopeful, to anticipate life’s sweet surprises, to believe that we will be able to both cling to our love for Rachel and move forward with confidence. I am thankful for Lindsay and Brian’s baby, Jack, who will be born in 2009, and I look forward to a new president who has a hopeful and progressive vision for the country. But I can’t ignore the lesson I have learned so bitterly: that the worst can happen, even if the worst has already happened before. The woman who killed my daughter has killed my faith in the future. Perhaps that faith was inappropriate in the first place...