May 8, 2016

the light and the dance

I wasn’t going to to camping. It’s too soon.

But Jenn and Sandy talked me into it.

But then the morning of, I changed my mind.

It was too soon.

Everything these days is the first of something.

The first time we went to church after Papa died. The first time we had fun after Papa died. The first camping trip after Papa died.

It’s too soon.

But friends have an amazing way of helping you navigate what is really good for you.

We went camping.

It was warm (minus the night hours, we froze properly for the first camp of the year). We were on a river. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was sad. It was hard.

Todd loved to camp. We camped as often as we could, which was never enough. He would have loved this trip.

Saturday night the kids went down late as always happenes when camping. Not long after they went down (all 6 kids crashed pretty quick), the grown-ups were sitting around the campfire chatting. Actually, it was an impromptu group counseling session. You know who your friends are when you can tell them all the hard, raw, ugly parts of this hard, ugly, raw journey. Those people sitting around that campfire - those are people I can trust with all the feelings. All the fear. All the uncertainty. All the tears.

There was a quiet lull in the conversation and someone noticed that there were flashlights bouncing in one of the tents still. One last, “go to sleep!” When Ryan, in a uncertain voice that was almost comical, said, “Uh, speaking of lights…. what is THAT?”

We all looked straight above us in the sky to see a brilliant white light lighting up the sky above it. We stared at it a few minutes before the light began to dance.

One of the things Todd always wanted to see his whole life was the aurora borealis. Now, two weeks after we said goodbye to him, we stood there and watched it light up the sky.

I sobbed. Happy tears, sad tears, and hurt tears.

We all ran to our tents and tried to wake the kids up. Not one of them could be roused. So the grown-ups all enjoyed the show together.

If I hadn’t gone camping, I would have missed the first time seeing the aurora after Todd died. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this one.

The lights danced for over and hour before they faded into the night sky. As quickly as they appeared, they were gone.

Todd died in about 10 days. It was so short. But you know what? That’s about how long it took me to start to fall for the guy. We were engaged two months after we met.

I know, crazy, right?

Ten days was enough for me to see that he was special. It was enough for love to begin to bloom.

And like the northern lights, as quickly as our lives began together, it was over.

Only our dance was longer than an hour. Our dance was 14 1/2 years. I’m so, so grateful for every step, every turn, every dip.

We danced more in those years than most people do in a lifetime. I can never regret a single moment.

Moving on is a term I’ve grown to dislike. I don’t want to move on. I was happy where we were. I was happy with my life. I wasn’t ready to stop dancing with the love of my life.

Now I feel like I’ve been left on the dance floor without a partner. Though the world swirls around me, I’m standing… wanting to keep dancing but not knowing how to dance alone.

Not wanting to dance alone…

Camping is therapeutic. 

I’m so glad I went and got to experience something most people never get to experience. I’m glad I got to sit by the river and cry. I’m glad I got to explore in the woods alone (note to self, make sure people know where you’re going next time so no one freaks out and think you fell in the river). I’m glad I got to see the aurora and be reminded of our dance.

I’m so sad and my heart hurts more than I think I can bear, but tonight, I get to be a little glad too.


Unknown said...

Not sure if you remember me, Cas, from umapine church. I've been reading your blog and have been touched by your honest feelings and deep faith. You can be certain that God will direct your uncertainty and show you exactly where He wants you. He has not left you even for a second and has a plan that's for your good and not evil. He's holding on to you even when it doesn't feel like it. He is revealing His plan moment by moment. The beauty of the heavens has declared His love and watch care for you. Especially!
❤ Marcia

Unknown said...

Tommy's mom said...

Hi Cas, it is Melissa, Tommy and Suzette's mom. Glad we could talk yesterday. Guess we are members of the same club. I love your blog. I wish they had blogging 20 years ago...I could have used one to get out all I was struggling with. You are a beautiful writer.

I am so glad you went camping. Give yourself permissioni to have fun to not be sad sometimes....that is good and right. Doing things for the first time is both sad and happy.. But you did it. It would have been easier to skip the trip but look at what you would have missed.

Nature has a way to help you heal. I think it is because it points us to creation and God. Seeing something wonderful in nature each day really helped me find my way. I began to look for something. A unusual bird or a neat bug (if there is such a thing). I just knew when I saw it God cares. They he sent that creature to remind me that he was there and still loved me. As I am sure he sent the beautiful sky to you.

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