“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” Ernest Hemingway
She was a natural-born paradox. Gentle yet tough; loyal yet independent; social yet a bit of a loner.
Remembering the autumn so many years ago when we watched her free-spirit belly grow under her man-size shirt. Surely she is carrying someone’s child, but she denies it for as long as she can. Until one cold day in December, she delivers a baby girl into the waiting arms of the adopting parents.
She has her reasons. Good reasons painfully drawn from the deep waters of a brave girl’s heart. I don’t judge—I know better than that. She shows us the birth certificate with tiny footprints and cries.
A year later, on a snowy night in January, she stands with us at the church altar as her brother and me exchange our wedding vows. We will never see her again after that night. Her gypsy heart and hippie spirit calls her westward where her life comes to a sudden and tragic end a few months later. She was 22 years old, and our hearts broke.
Life goes on; 20 years pass—and then a letter, a phone call, a knock on the door. We embrace through tears, and I whisper, “I always knew you would find us”. And through her daughter’s eyes, she smiles knowingly.
The death of a young person brings confusion, perhaps even more so to a person of faith. We ride the waves of grief—up & down, down & up—until eventually, somehow, we land upon solid ground. Ground that takes us in—womb-like—and protects. The solid rock of trust in God when there are no answers to the hard questions. Solid ground—placental earth—protecting, revealing & healing. Something that does not happen overnight. Love & Peace.