We’re packing up our house….
Those of you who follow me on social media may know that we had a major plumbing issue in our house earlier this summer and we’ve been dealing with our insurance company since the end of June trying to get them to cover the repairs for all the damage.
Well, at last we have a final number from the insurance company and that means our contractor will start working on our house next week. (Insert all of the celebration emojis here.) But first….we have to move everything out of it. We haven’t been living there since the flood (June 29) but we only took the essentials with us when we moved out. So now we have to pack up and move EVERYTHING out of the main floor. Which means I’ve been packing.
I try not to slow down too much when I’m packing. I hustle. I don’t look at every book, every picture frame. But I came across something this weekend that really stopped me in my tracks.
I have a drawer in my china cabinet that is filled with unopened sympathy cards from when my brother died. I know it’s there. But I don’t think about it a lot. I can’t bring myself to throw the unopened cards away, but I’m also not sure I’m ready to open them all. Immediately after Grant’s death, neighbors and friends and family brought over tons of food. But they also sent notes. So many notes. And I opened maybe the first 10 or so, but then I couldn’t bare to open any more of them. But I appreciate the thoughtfulness (and the tradition) of sending a sympathy note when someone loses a loved one. So as I’m packing up my china—teacups passed down to me from my grandmother, my fine china that I really only ever use on Easter and Christmas, and fancy dessert plates that were wedding gifts—I stumble upon this stack of sympathy cards. Still in envelopes.
On top of the cards is a note. I don’t remember seeing it before, but it was written to my brother by my mom. From the note itself it’s clear she had stuck the note in a bible that she was sending to Grant while he was in treatment in Minnesota. It’s not dated, but my guess is she sent it a couple months before he died.
The whole note was very tender because it was a reminder of what my mom was like in those days before Grant passed away. Not that she is so different now, but we were all changed by his death. Mom stays in a lot more. She likes to be home. She’s a little bit quieter, more reserved. But what I love about this note is that it’s so her—she mingles comments like “I better go, I hear Angel [our old dog] eating cat food in the laundry room.” I’d forgotten we still had our tabby cats in 2008. They were 22 yrs old. 22yr old cats!
Anyway, she mingles that comment about the dog eating cat food with words like this: “Just remember that you are on our hearts every day and that I pray for you every day. I don’t know what’s ahead but I do know God saved you for a reason, and He will bring His plan to completion in you.” The “saved you” she’s referring to was in 2006 when Grant had been hospitalized and in a coma for several months following an overdose. The doctors did not think that he would live. We were told to look into long term care facilities. He was on life support. The term “vegetative state” was used. And then….Grant woke up.
We were shocked, relieved, overjoyed. But I don’t think any of us thought that God would save Grant in 2006 only to take him in 2008. And I know that Grant’s decisions and sickness are a huge part of all this too. But there was a way—and my mom’s note stirs up this sentiment— that we were so relieved Grant had survived that we let our guard down a bit regarding his illness. He had survived. He was going to be fine now, right? But addiction is so cunning.
I look at that note from my mom: “I don’t know what’s ahead but I do know God saved you for a reason, and He will bring His plan to completion in you” and I think….what if He did? As terrible as it is. As much as I hate it. And as much as it still hurts my heart 9 years later….what if that’s exactly what God did? I don’t know that I know “the reason” and I cannot make sense of His plan. But that’s true of so much of this life on earth.
Much love to you readers….XO