Passing Through the River

Avery & Lily
I don’t want this to be the same post you’ve read for the last two years each time my surviving triplets, Avery and Lily, start a new school year.  And yet, I can’t ignore that it feels quite the same.  That ever-present mix of excitement & anticipation swirled together with longing & heart ache for my daughter, Zoe, who isn’t going off to Kindergarten with her sisters.  Many agree that grief ebbs and flows, it is not linear.  It’s path cannot be charted, nor the surges predicted.  And so I’ve created a calm place in my mind where I can go when I need to settle my nerves and anxiety.   But even my calm place cannot escape the reality that my arms still ache to hold Zoe, my chest feels tight and I miss my daughter terribly.

My calm place is a river.  I see myself in this river of life – the water is cool and refreshing, the rich green of the trees and the grass-covered river banks surround me as the smell of damp moss fills my nose.  The quiet around me is pierced only by the trickling of the water, an occasional song of a bird, and the rustling of leaves in a gentle breeze.

Zoe Rose
I wade easily in these waters, my white cotton dress clings to my legs and flows between them; my hair falls loosely around my shoulders as I push a wisp behind my ear.  The same wisp she twirled in her pudgy little fingers hours before we said goodbye .  A half smile finds it’s way to my lips as I see her eyes before me, sparkling back and reflecting the love that only exists between a parent and a child.  

(c) Naomi Levit Photography
I drag my index finger lazily along the surface of the river.  A gentle wake appears behind me as a leaf softly glides from above and continues it’s dance in the rippling trail I’ve left.  I’m alone, lost in the languor of my thoughts, in my own dream.  The solitude is inviting, I’m comfortable and the sun rays shine through the leaves of the forest around me creating streaks of ethereal light in the air as the scent of honeysuckle drifts by and I look ahead to the clearing. 

The clearing I know is coming.  The clearing I face from time to time as the river of my life moves on.  The trees part and the water ever so slightly begins to pick up pace around me.  With each step the power of the water increases and begins to pull at my feet below the surface.  It pushes at my back, moving me along so that I cannot turn to escape.  I can only continue forward.  The soft roar of the rapids are ahead, my heartbeat quickens and my skin feels pricked by a thousand tiny needles.   

(c) Naomi Levit Photography
I’ve been here before.  I’ve been through these rapids.  I’ve gasped for air when I slip on the algae covered rock, been pulled under by the force of the river and felt the rush of water above my head.  I’ve reached up to grab for anything that can pull me up again, anything that can set my feet on something solid.  And here it is again, raging in front of me.  I’m a bit more prepared this time.  I know the challenges I will face; and I know how my heart will pound in my throat, pulsing and throbbing loudly in my ears.  My senses will heighten to everything around me leaving me exhausted once I’ve finally passed through.

I also know that I will not drown.  My grief will not control me indefinitely.  I know the intense power of the river won’t pull me all the way to the bottom.  And when I reach up, I’ve got something that rescues me each and every time I slip; every time the river of life threatens to engulf me.  Like the calm after a thunderstorm, the water will return to the peaceful stillness I crave, where I can walk gently and easily, dragging my index finger along the surface of the water again.

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”   ~Isaiah 40:29-31                                                                                                             

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…”   ~Isaiah 43:2                                                                                                     

1 comment:

Jess said...

Keira, this is the most beautiful piece of writing, the most beautiful sentiment, the most beautiful illustration I have ever had the honor of reading. Thank you for sharing your heart, your talent, and your great love for Zoe. She is wading in the River of Life right at this very moment, waiting for the day when she can be in your arms again. And she is HAPPY.

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31