This time twelve months ago I had no idea what was about to happen - none of us did. Paul had been at Search for Life and come home ... we imagine he was watching Six Feet Under ... none of us had an incling of what was going to happen in a few hours time. None of us knew the numbness, pain, agony, tears that was coming, none of us knew the way that God would hold us and bring us to a deeper trust in him and contentment, despite and even through what really is still a tragedy. But these things, and much more, have been some of our experience as we have experienced much grief over Paul's death.
It is twelve months on. As Julie and i were saying today - on one level it feels like yesterday, on another it feels like a lifetime ago. It seems like I should be watching Six Feet Under right now ...
Numbness is real tonight, words certainly don't cut it.
I remember well the phone call from Julie during the night after I heard about Paul's death. The phone was by my bed, expecting her call. It had been a restless night ... words didn't cut it then, they don't cut it now.
The week following that rates as one of the most agonising and growing in my life.
Being present with, physically and in spirit, in word and silence, in joy and sadness, in laughter and tears, at wineries and on the beach - have all found new meaning as I have walked with others who have also grieved (and are grieving), as I've let myself grieve and as I've had the privelge of having others be present with me in various ways as I've grieved ... and as I've known God's presence deeply in it all.
The feelings are still mixed ... grief is still real ... I'm more convinced than ever of the tragedy that it is ... I know myself more deeply than ever ... I value life more deeply than ever ... I know some people more deeply and intimately because of it all ...
I know and trust that God is good more than ever before.
A deep, anguished but contented sigh ... with tears running down my face ...
And I remember Julian of Norwich's prayer:
All is well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.