looking through me

calendar alerts

Certain alerts on my calendar repeat every year—so I don’t forget—but they aren’t birthdays. They’re anniversaries of deaths. And when they pop up, a spectrum of emotions surges through me.

Sometimes they remind me of people I will never stop missing, and sometimes they remind me that people I love are awash in the residual waves of grief a year or two or seven or fifteen after the physical loss of someone deeply loved.

Dates matter. I was raised by parents who made remembering their engagement and wedding anniversaries monthly competitions. They wished my brothers and me “happy monthday” each and every month that wasn’t our actual birthday. And decades down the road, they still do.

Remembering matters. Celebrating matters. Grieving matters. Because loving matters.

So when an alert pops up for a death date on my calendar, I know it’s an opportunity to mail a note or make a phone call or send a text or email. But even when I stay silent and fail to reach out, I stare at the calendar and try again to wrap my thoughts around how life continues with heartrending voids.

And I realize what an honor it is to remember. What a privilege it is to speak presence into absence. What a gift it is to know and be known.

What a treasure it is to walk through joy and sorrow together every day . . . whether my calendar reminds me to or not.


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wander or wonder

I buried myself in spreadsheets at work—grateful for a looming deadline—to distract from the barrage of the news hitting ever closer to home.

But as I left the busyness of business behind, the quiet of the commute betrayed me. My mind looped in hopeless circles.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded the newest release of one of my favorite groups, but I hadn’t listened to it enough to sing along yet. So I turned it on as I drove and focused hard on the lyrics.

A song came on about sorrow and chaos. It felt all too appropriate, but I couldn’t quite make out the chorus. Was it “but I know, I know / You remain the same / even in, even in / my wandering” or “but I know, I know / You remain the same / even in, even in / my wondering?”

One little vowel makes such a big difference. I might not be wandering right now, but, oh, I am wondering.

I wonder . . .
What if?
Why now?
If not now, when?
How long?
Why her (or him or them or us)?
Why not her (or him or them or us)?
To what end?
Does it matter?

I don’t know. All the wondering in the world won’t soothe the sorrows or still the chaos. “But I know, I know / You remain the same.”

And I hold on to that unchanging Hope in the wondering . . . and wandering.


I wrote this one year ago today. I have the same annual deadline this week, and once again I find myself grateful for the distraction and dismayed by the barrage of news that one year later has only gotten worse . . . and closer to home. But I’m still listening to that album on repeat, and Hope remains unchanged.

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