Today I feel good. I also feel bad. I feel energy. I also feel lethargic. I miss Olivia. I’m also happy her suffering is over. I miss Olivia, but I’m also glad to finally sleep again. I feel hope for the future. I’m also drowning in the pain and exhaustion of the past two years.

I can’t make any sense of these conflicting emotions.

We just went through the most difficult thing we’ve ever experienced. I carried my daughter’s body. I placed her in a basket. Some person I’d never met took her out my front door.

After Olivia’s burial service we were supposed to drive away so they could take care of the logistics of removing the chairs and burying her. I understood why they wanted us to leave, but as we drove away my fatherly instinct told me not to leave until she was safe. I parked the car a couple hundred feet away, and through some trees we watched as two men picked her up and put her in the hole. A tractor covered her with dirt. They loaded up their truck and drove away. It was quiet. It was finished. I turned the van around and drove back to the site. Heather and I got out and stood at Olivia’s grave. That was it. We had just completed the most difficult and horrible thing either of us ever imagined enduring. So had Olivia. And IT WAS GOOD. Beautiful. The most wonderful and rich and life-giving thing I’ve ever been a part of.

These were the hardest two years of my life. Also, they were the best. All of my future years will be better because of these ones. If there was a button I could push to remove the pain or change what happened, I would smash it to pieces without hesitation.

I can’t make any sense of these conflicting emotions. But I do know, all of them are real. I choose to feel them; to let them exist without trying to reconcile them or understand them.

I am tired and worn and weak. Also, I am filled with strength. My heart is torn to shreds. Also, it is well with my soul.

Thank you God for letting us be right where we’ve been for the past two years. It’s ok that none of it makes sense. We’re ok with the confusion. We’re ok with the pain and the beauty and the not knowing. We’re ok with the realization that we don’t control our lives or our kids’ lives. We choose to trust and to rest.

Tuesday April 26, 2016