I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Birthday Gift and a Goodbye that Never Was.

My Love surprised me last fall on my thirty-fifth birthday by getting us tickets to see something I'd been wanting to see for over ten years...."Wicked"....and it was so perfect.  So, so, so perfect.  He surprised me again by getting me seats a second time.  I have felt very spoiled, of course.   I am grateful.  I've always been an Oz fan, and have shelves and shelves of all things Oz in our home. So naturally, when this musical came out...I knew one day I'd just have to see it.  I'm grateful.  And now, I'm keeping an eye on when it comes anywhere near us again.  ; )

What he didn't know was how it affected me this month.  My sweet Momma's birthday was February 7th.  Anyone living with grief knows how the calendar can often kick us right in the gut. Being able to do something so magical kinda sorta helped me this month.  I'd known since fall that we'd be seeing it, but I didn't think anything about how it would affect me for good.  It just softened this month for me, in a very special way.
Obviously, I'm grateful.  Thank you, My Love.

Grief is so different from person to person.  Those of us living with the loss of a loved one, though the stories are different, we know the absence all too well.  We live with it everyday.  For myself, my story, not only was it unexpected and early...it was one that never got a goodbye.  We lost Momma abruptly, tragically, unexpectedly.  It was quite literally one of those things you've seen happen on television...one of those things you never expect will happen to you, it only happens to "other" people.  One of those, "We need to know whether you want to keep her breathing with a machine, or not" stories.  One of those, "We cannot tell you when she will be gone....it could be a day or three months, you'll just have to wait" kind of stories.  The stories made of nightmares, the ones we hate speaking of.  Losing her in that way will always be a part of my story, and that, I cannot change.

*Sometimes I wonder what I would have said to her, had I known I'd never see her again.*

I cannot tell you how much that angers me, frustrates me, and haunts me.  Being able to hug my Momma, tell her all the things she needed to hear me say, and knowing she was awake to hear me....no, it wouldn't have made losing her easier.  But at least it would have been a goodbye.  Perhaps it would have given those of us she left behind just a tiny bit of closure, knowing we were able to say some personal things to her.  But we never got that chance.  I know there are so many others who wish they would have been given the chance to say a last goodbye to their loved ones.

Music has always moved me.  Always.  I have always lived with a strange sensitivity to music, one that cannot be put into words.  When we were sitting there watching "Wicked", I was soaking it all in.  I didn't want to miss a line, a measure, not one thing.  Now, I had already heard the soundtrack for this wonderful piece of art a million times, and it was committed to memory.  But seeing it live, with people using their own creativity, there's just something beautiful there. 

As I sat there next to My Love, and watched my favorite character sing effortlessly, beautifully...I couldn't stop the tears.  They just unexpectedly fell...

"It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime.  So, let me say before we part:  So much of me is made of what I learned from you.  You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart.  And now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine..."
("For Good" by Stephen Schwartz)

Perhaps, given the chance...something like that is what I would have said to you, Momma.  I'll never know, though.  Because that is a goodbye I never got to say. 


(A few weeks ago, I was at that point again, of thinking it's pointless to share these dark parts of grief.  Hearing from a dear, dear friend moved me.  She told me that speaking on my story like I've done all these years may have saved someone, and let them know they are not wrong or crazy.  I had never thought of it like that...thank you, sweet girl.  You know who you are. As difficult as it is to write on this grief, I hope it does let someone know they are not alone in their own grief.)

Whatever way your story goes, whatever grief you carry, whatever goodbye that you did or did not have when you lost your loved one...please know you're not alone.  Your grief is a sacred thing.  I will do what I can to give your grief a voice...because we cannot carry it alone.

***Love has no end, nor the grief that holds its hand.***