Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Things I know about bitter/sweet

Bitter-sweet. Now that is an oxy-moron if I ever saw one. A bit like "colder than Hell" and sometimes just as confusing. But the word is real and it has so many meanings. The one that I am talking about is a feeling, an emotion that comes to us many times in our lives.
As my daughters have grown up, I watched them go from babies to toddlers to teens and on to becoming adults. The excitement in seeing my youngest going off to college to be a chef was "bitter-sweet. Seeing her grab one of her dreams and live it was the sweet in my heart. Knowing it would take her hundreds of miles away from her mother and I was the bitter. Seeing my oldest daughter find the man that would love her unconditionally was the sweet. Knowing she would move away from us was the bitter.
And then there was MY Sheila. The love of my life, who walked through fires with me and never let go of my hand was truly the Most sweetness of my life. So many years of suffering and enduring and yet never ever saying "I quit." Quitting was simply not an option for her. Then came the day that I took her to ER, where we had been a thousand times in our 24 years. Such a long wait to decide what to do. Then emergency surgery and waiting alone in the dark room, wondering what would be the outcome. Hearing her say to me as I was going to smoke, "Wait just another minute or two,o.k.?" Never once even considering the thought she might die. We had been here and done this more times than I could count. She Always came out of it. But not this time.
When the surgeon came out and told me he could not save her, I dropped to the floor, my legs no longer strong enough to bare the weight of such words. I begged him to do more. I told him she was my life. I told him... "I am nothing without her." Words that were no longer strong enough to keep her here with me. The "bitter" reality of it all. Where then does the bitter-sweet lie now? Bitter that she is gone now when i wanted another 24 years with her. Knowing I would have lifted her in and out of bed, in and out of the wheelchair, in and out of the van, just for a little while longer with her. Bitter that that was taken from me.
The sweet? Knowing she no longer needed me to lift her, to carry her, to make her as comfortable as I could. Knowing that, because she was now in heaven with our Father God. The knowing that she no longer hurts and no longer endures all that she did when she was living her on earth.
Such a word seems as if it should not exist, but it does for all of us somewhere in our lives. A word that reminds us that there is always something sweet in the bitter, only though... if we choose to look for it.

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