I certainly wish circumstances were different and I would have been able to attend the PASS Summit this week. I miss being part of the active community and seeing old friends and meeting new ones, but I'm glad I was here at home. Being home means I've been able to tend to my wife. That's my job, more so than any regular employment or professional commitment. She's recovering, still in pain, requiring the Motrin that was prescribed. She's also still very tired as her body heals up from the pregnancy. Once we found out the twins had passed, they went through a process to induce similar to a normal pregnancy and birth, so her body is recovering just as it would from a regular pregnancy. And that means she gets tired more easily. I've seen her regain more of her strength each day, but she still gets more tired than she does normally. Being here means I can take on kid wrangling, fix the meals (although this has been made easier since our church family has, with grace and generosity, provided all of her dinners and some of our lunches since Sunday night), and take care of other things that she might not feel up to do. So we're surviving, we're not over the physical part yet, and I know it'll be a while for us to recover emotionally and mentally.
Speaking of which, I went back to some advice my dad gave me after we found out the news. He made a point of telling me to ensure that our four year-old wasn't neglected. He had been through this when his mother lost her twins, and as the baby of the family, he felt like he was kind of shoved to the side. This is something he still remembers in a very raw and painful way. While he knows that it wasn't intentional, that doesn't erase the memory of the pain he felt. Now my father is a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant (like fellow Kelley/Kelly, Andy Kelly) and he's an old-school Marine among old-school Marines. So he typically keeps his emotions close to his vest. I know for him to share that meant it was a pretty significant memory and a time of great pain in his life. As a result, we've purposely have looked to ensure all three kids have received a good deal of attention. This includes my oldest, who will soon be turning 12, because of his age and his tenderness I think he took the hit almost as hard as Kimberly and I did. He has always had a tender and loving heart. It's one of the things about him I can't take any credit for but I'm extremely proud of him over. But it also means in times like this he hurts and hurts a lot.
In order to cope I've turned more to reading and to music, both playing and listening. Hymns and jazz music are certainly a salve for my soul. I've also delved back into poetry, specifically poems of faith. Thankfully, I've got a great library here in Columbia, SC, and it had a book entitled The Poetry of Piety. I don't see it available for order anywhere any longer, or I would link to it, but it's been a good read thus far. I'm barely into chapter two, and I've enjoyed what I've read.
(Editorial Warning: If you're not interested in hearing about matters of faith because that's not why you follow this blog, then what follows is exactly that. Just wanted to give you fair warning.)
For instance, chapter one covered Sir Walter Raleigh's epitaph, which was:
Even such is Time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.
But from which earth and grave and dust
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.
The message of this epitaph is that time will eventually get us. The joys and energy we have in our youth will succumb to old age and then eventually death. It's an inevitable marching in that direction. However, Sir Walter Raleigh was putting his trust in the promise that God would raise Him up again in the future. This is a central message of Christianity, and it was one he was holding tight to. The book points out that this epitaph was reportedly written the night before his execution, and if that's the case, is a reflection of the final thoughts of a man who had done and seen much in life. He didn't reflect upon his accomplishments or his family or anything else except a promise from his faith. This was a welcome reminder that I believe in something more than this present life. And that I believe that there is hope beyond what I can touch and see. I know some would think I'm naive, silly, foolish, an idiot, or even a bit unstable because I cling to such faith. But in a time such as the present, that faith has steered me through. It has always steered me through, both in rough times and in good ones. And I hope to end life with a similar sentiment and conviction as Sir Walter Raleigh did.