Yes, I'm about a week early.
Thus far this year I have not experienced the overwhelming grief that paralyzed me on the last three anniversaries. In fact, even as I write this, I'm not overwhelmed. Just. . .a little numb.
Because this morning God made sure I would pay attention to my feelings.
I was determined to make it to church this morning. Even after a bad night of running to the bathroom and waking up with every joint and muscle aching, from my ankles to my head.
I didn't get a bulletin on the way in, so I didn't know what hymns we were singing. I might have been prepared. Instead, I saw "I'll Fly Away" on the overhead and happy memories of singing it with choir danced into my mind. After we sang "When the Roll is Called up Yonder" and "I've Got a Mansion," I knew we were in for a morning of songs about heaven.
I didn't start crying until we got to "I Can Only Imagine." I managed to choke out a few words of the last chorus.
As a last, final clue, the music minister asked us to share the first person we wanted to speak to in heaven.
Jaran last spoke to Jolene on Leap Year day four years ago--his stepmother's birthday. So as the 29th came and went, he couldn't stop thinking about her. On the year that I was feeling better, he was feeling worse.
I look at Jordan, my precious grandbaby, and her inevitable growth and change gives me an exact ruler to measure the time that has passed since her aunt's death.
Through this morning's service, God reminded me that it's okay, in fact, necessary for me to grieve and remember.
So today I am quiet. And longing for that day when I will see Jolene and Mom and throw my arms around them.
Until then, I rejoice in the Lord and rest in Him.