Pieces of grief

It still surprises me when I awaken to tears and strong waves of memory, the rhythm of grief catching me off-guard and vulnerable. Even the gentle waves sometimes knock you down when you’re unsteady, when the sand shifts just so beneath your feet.

My mother’s perfume bottle sits on my dresser, along with a small bottle of essential oils that belonged to Marissa. The perfume is a happy remembrance of my mom, pearls and dress-up and celebrations. But the oils remind me of a bald-headed beauty and a cancer-ridden body. They smell a little like sadness, a little like fear.

Both scents take me back if I want them to. If I let them.

The summer air has been thick with humidity, and even walks at dusk are heavy and still. Some nights I smell crushed roses and I’m not sure if the scent is joy or sadness. Is it a lover’s bouquet or a graveside farewell?

I just can’t tell sometimes.

But there have been cotton candy clouds at sunset, all pink and golden and billowy, the kind that make you catch your breath in wonder. And every night I come home to the richest kind of love and the fullness of so many blessings.

The pieces of grief are tangled up with bits of breathless joy. And I remember the One who is weaving it all together, who is making it good.

I worship this Creator of every kind of beauty, every precious gift, every trace of joy. And when the scent of roses makes me cry, I lift my head.

I worship still.

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works. Psalm 104:1-2, 31

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3

My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:2-3