I put that up on Diary’s Facebook page yesterday. Why? Because I needed to hear it. And I figured that I likely wasn’t the only one who did. The response that I got to it, both on the page and privately, made it awfully clear that I was right.
On Friday night, Katie and I drove down to Connecticut for Tuck’s wake. For so many reasons, I will never forget that day — the overwhelming love in that church, the stunning grace and strength with which the Gowens greeted and comforted each and every person who came to offer their condolences, the sheer enormity of the crowd, snaking around and through the sanctuary, out into the entryway, doubled back down the hallway and out into the parking lot. But what has haunted me most since then was a brief, simple exchange between Katie and Tuck’s grandma.
Katie had promised to stay strong for Jeni. Once we were inside the sanctuary, that was what I had asked of her. No tears until after Jeni. She made it. Sort of. As we made our way down the line of family, she couldn’t contain it anymore. A tear slipped down her cheek, followed by another. She tried to turn away so that no one would see her crying, but there was nowhere to hide.
Tuck’s Grandma bent down to her. “I’m Grandma,” she said softly, putting a gentle hand on Katie’s shoulder. “I know it’s sad, honey. There’s no way around it. It just is. But I just want you to know, I’m so glad there’s a YOU in the world.”
The moment stopped me in my tracks. The pure, unadulterated generosity of the exchange was life-changing. In a time of unfathomable pain, Tuck’s Grandma was telling my baby how glad she was that SHE was in the world.
And I got it. All of it.
THAT’S where all that strength comes from. THAT’S where the Grace lives. In spirits who enrich themselves by holding others. That’s it, isn’t it? By giving strength we build our own. By giving love we receive it.
Even in our day-to-day lives, how many of us take the time to say, “I’m so glad there’s a YOU in the world?”
I’m starting today.
I’m glad there’s a you in the world. Yes, you. And I’m asking you to be gentle with you today, okay? I’m asking you to treat yourself as you would a cherished friend. For you are no less deserving of love, care and FORGIVENESS than those who are not you.
You hear me?
I’m talking to YOU.