Privilege of Loss


I’ve been blessed to go home to the mid-west multiple times in the last 12 months. My checkbook might not be feeling very blessed, but it did survive!

First Kylie was born!

Then, a couple months later, poor Kelsey got sick. Then Chelle got married! Each time I am swept off my feet by how much I love my sisters… and their husbands… and their daughters… and my parents. I am in love with steamy-hot Kansas and Oklahoma. I am in love with what will always be home.

Quite literally, I live a nomadic life. Patrick and I unpack as little as possible with each move, just to avoid re-packing it later. I am of the mind that if we don’t open in the two years that we live somewhere, everything in the box is disposable. He doesn’t agree. Anyway, that’s beside the point.

When I flew home after Kylie’s birth, I felt buoyant. I had enjoyed every moment, hugged at every opportunity, stayed up late, and soaked all the life out of every flicker of the second hand. But suddenly, as Kelsey drove away, and I stood on the curb outside DFW my heart lunged toward my feet.

Oh how it hurt.

To leave.

To leave Kylie.

To leave my sisters.

Say goodbye for longer than a restful night.

The pain was all-consuming. I wandered into the airport feeling lost and listless, panicked and angry. What time would pass, what days would lengthen Kylie’s little body? What progress would be made toward Rachelle’s wedding day? What tears would drip without my knowledge? What happy moments would I never experience?

Never mind that I would have my own happy moments, tears, friends, joys, growth… my own life. I would miss them. The pain wedged itself in my windpipe and fought each inhale for my whole flight home. Slowly, it loosened…

When Brave ran into my arms at my own front door,

When Patrick came home and we sat down to watch our favorite TV show together.

That’s another privilege of pain I realized. Do you see it? What if there was nothing wonderful about my sisters? Nothing compelling about home? Nothing to long for, look forward to? Isn’t it far better to have someone to cry for than to shed no tears at all?

Recently, my Bible study girls shared prayer requests. One of the girls asked for prayer for her grandmother. Another one mused out loud, “How blessed you are to have had grandparents for over 30 years!” In my self-pity moments after a sad goodbye, I don’t stop to be grateful for the fact that I have someone to miss.

My grandfather died last year and it hurt deeply. But I had loved him and been loved by him for 30 years.

I am certain that I would rather feel the pain of longing, the ache of loneliness and the tears of goodbye than to have no one to love, no one to miss, no one to hug goodbye.

“I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.” Tennyson

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9 thoughts on “Privilege of Loss

  1. Abby: I hope you don’t mind, but I was so impressed with this post that I re-posted it on my blog. Yours is the first post I have done that with. If you object, please let me know, and I will remove the post immediately.
    God bless you for all you do!

    1. Charles, I am honored. I see you as a mentor is so many ways as to writing about our faith in the glorious Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you

  2. Abby, read your post as a reblog by charlesmashburn and found it most inspiring! I never had a sister, just one brother who was very distant for too many years. Now I cherish every moment I talk with him on the phone and can’t wait until our next visit. He is a widower and unfortunately, it was the passing of my sister-in-law and our mother in the same year (within six months of each other) that reunited our long lost relationship. Sometimes it is in sorrow that we find forgiveness and new relationships. I never knew my grandparents on my mother’s side for they died very young. I did on my dad’s and I so cherish the memories – even the ‘running’ water which was retrieved from running to the well pump in the back yard and lugging the heavy pails onto the porch, the ahem! outhouse, the open fireplaces where we slept on pallets in front of the hearth, Grandma’s homemade dumplings and melt in your mouth apple pie. Papa had a country store and always had fountain cokes ready on the hot summer days.

    Yes, we are privileged in the loss for with the loss we are left with a diary filled with wonderful memories.

    1. Oh I am sooo glad you wrote me! I would love to hear more about your stories. My sisters and I do find so much fun in reminiscing. It’s a little weird b/c we spread 10 years in age, how Jennifer and I share some memories that Rachelle and Kelsey have no recollection of. Sometimes it even seems like we had different parents (:
      Maybe it’s worth exploring how love is rekindled in memories as much as lived out now and hoped for in the future. (:
      thank you for sharing!

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