Ten years ago, I got married. Yes I was a baby of 22, but no, I don't have regrets. I became Mrs Ben Morrell and joined the Morrell clan. It's been 10 years of puns, and amazing food, and family gatherings with dogs running everywhere. Ten years as part of a resourceful, resilient, loyal, talented and kind family. Ten years since my mother-in-law hosted my bridal shower, and twelve years since my father-in-law and I had our first conversation (about Ernest Shackleton).
I put a lot of wedding photos on Facebook today, with some narrative about the wedding. Looking at them, I can't help but think... why did I love peach so much? And why were all of us ladies plucking our eyebrows down so small? It looks weird to me now.
But seriously, I am thankful for the time I had with Ben and the people he brought into my life who are still with me. Those of you will who have grieved will know that sometimes the pain is sudden, wordless, and almost physical. Today is one of those days for me. Today is difficult and sad.
There - brutal honestly in the moment. I think of Wesley in 'The Princess Bride,' saying "Princess, life is pain." Or perhaps a sunnier way of putting it would be what the widows of Modern Widows Club like to say, that great grief is a mark of great love. I listen to one of Ben's favorite songs, "Grace" by Phil Wickham, and say to God "I need You, cuz I can't do this alone... I'm cracked and dry, on hands and knees. Oh sweet Grace, rain down on me."
Life has such a different shape now, a shape that Ben Morrell would not fit inside. It feels like in finding a new life I've changed the locks and he can't come home anymore (if that were even possible). Occasionally, this seems even sadder than staying the same. At the same time, I see it as a Great Confirmation of the diverging of our paths - his path to his eternity with God, and mine on earth for awhile longer.
And much of the time, I just wish we could have coffee and catch up. Except instead of coffee, Ben would be nursing a chai or bolting down a raspberry lemonade or three. He'd want to hear if Venice was as amazing as he always told me, and shake his head over my "old" phone and computer. He'd be proud that I finally qualified to take my architecture exams. He'd encourage me to keep moving on. I'd tell him about how I hope I'm becoming more like him - more resourceful, generous, helpful, an observant listener, not complaining, full of faith, using humor as a tool, quietly confident.
All of his anxiety and fears would be gone. Maybe he'd have a pet dragon? He'd definitely have peace about leaving earth when he did, and a million new ideas (which he's probably already discussed with some of the movers and shakers in Heaven).
He hasn't been to a hospital in quite some time :)