A close friend of the Cheneys' passed away last week. After a long and insanely valiant fight against cancer, a stroke took her. Linda is the Maui friend - their family is always there when the Cheneys are there. One of her grandsons, Carson, is a few years older than Annabelle and most definitely her first crush. This year, they played tag on the beach and giggled and smiled at each other, and I know I should be mortified, but I think it's just the cutest thing.
The girls came to the funeral with us, and although they could sense the sorrow in the room, they weren't emotional. I don't think they really understood. But then when her friend stood up with his family to follow his grandma's casket out of the room, Annabelle saw Carson and his tears and his sadness. And my Annabelle, the one with the most tender heart I know - the tears welled up in her eyes and she grieved for her friend, for his loss. It's a loss that she doesn't understand, but she does understand that her friend was sad. And so she shared in his grief, and we all cried for that shared grief, the sadness of losing someone so dearly loved. We know that forever is real and that in the long term, our happiness will be far greater than any earthly sorrow, but for now, this earthly mission of ours can be so painful.
And so I let her cry. I didn't tell her to stop, to be a big girl. Because she was being a big girl. She was finding her way into empathy, and in a way I was so proud, proud of her ability to care so deeply. She leaned into my shoulder and sobbed as tears poured silently out of my eyes, for our friends' loss, for the shared sorrow of this life. We both leaned into that grief, and I let her take it in. Because as hard as it is, grief and sadness and all the things that hurt us - they come.
And through our tears, I realized that while my babies will experience grief and heartache and sorrow, I know they will also experience the happiest of happiness. The opportunity to experience both will allow them to not only more fully comprehend their human experience but also to take care of each other, of their friends, of me. My hope is that the grief they experience will teach them to be tender and to keep their hearts open. To love each other and give room for grief - their own and others'.
If I could, I would take away their sorrow in a heartbeat. I would experience it for them if someone gave me the option. Gladly. Because watching them hurt is far worse than any pain I have ever known. Ever. But then they wouldn't know that even on the darkest day, there is light somewhere. They wouldn't be able to experience the moments where we really see other, and take the chance to take care of each other. Sometimes I feel like everything is all so fragile. And it is. But I think that's what makes it valuable and worth protecting. And worth experiencing.