Home from camp. Happy, tired, filled up. Resting on the couch, the phone rings. It’s her dad. He asks her how she is and then tells her, “I’m getting married.” She listens, doesn’t say much, tries to quickly end the call. She sits there for a minute and begins to cry. Her cries turn to weeping and she runs to her room. Her sister follows her and then comes out and says, “Mom, she needs you.” And in I go.
We sit on the bed and I hold her while her sobs shake her body. Tears come to my eyes. I am helpless to make this better. Memories rush back in. The day he told me they were sleeping together, the day he told me he wouldn’t leave her, the day he told me they were buying a house and moving in together. And now, the day I learn they are getting married.
My youngest says, “I feel I am in a storm that never ends.” And my heart breaks.
There is deep sadness in the news he shared. We are reminded of all we lost. That, in the end, he chose her over us. My daughter feels the finality of it. Not only will he never return, he will never give her first place in his life. She is not the princess. She is abandoned at the core of her heart and she knows it.
I have no answers for her, no words to ease the pain. I simply hold her while she weeps and her tears soak my sweater. I think of this beautiful daughter, that one day she will shine. All this suffering is shaping her into a compassionate young woman but it is so painful to watch. If she can just hold on in this storm.
This morning I find space for my own grief. The black hole of loss seems ever present. Each of my children will respond to their father’s news with varying levels of grief. Some will also be relieved and maybe even happy for him.
Some will be concerned for me.
How do I feel? I am not happy for him, not today. All we lost washes over me and I dip my hand again in the well of grief. I will need some time to cry, to tell You, God, that I feel alone and lost in this. Do I hide those feelings from my children? They are old enough now to know it and to see it.
Lord, will I make it through this storm of caring for their hearts while my own is bleeding? I am not as strong as I used to be. I have taken too many hits, I have too many wounds. And yet, I trust You so much more than I ever did. I know Your love so much more deeply than before. I know that You will show me the way.
Today, I will let it all settle in me for a bit. I will be quieter and not want to talk so much. I will be teary and I will need Your hand in mine. I will give myself the space I need to share my heart with You. I will remind myself of what I know: You never abandoned us, You never left us for another, You never sold us out for another.
I hear my daughter waking up and getting ready for the day. Fill her up with You. She is so beautiful, so precious to You. She is Your princess, Your love. Don’t let the love and life and laughter in her heart be swept away. Keep her close, keep her in the eye of the storm with You.