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Full Circle. | Bethany Suckrow

Full Circle.

The new year began in two ways : one with the ball drop and celebration and champagne, and the other in the box of belongings and memory of a morning one year ago when her breath slipped away and life as I knew it was over.

The symbolism isn’t lost on me – this beginning and ending so close together, this cycle of saying goodbye and starting anew. Life and death and life.

On my morning commute I called my grandmother, just like I have each weekday morning since last January. We talked about all the everyday things – the chicken casserole she had made for dinner the night before, an update on how my aunt is feeling since her surgery in July, news from far flung family, a funny memory or two, and then, mom. We don’t talk about it every day, but it’s always there. When we do say it out loud, it’s a gift. Time slows down for me in that moment – I know it took a lot for her to say it, this precious, painful, oft unspoken piece of her life story.

She is the mother of my mother, I am the daughter of her daughter. She is a mother to me and I am a daughter to her in a strange, tight, eternal bond that both of us cling to with ineffable gratitude.

Just before we hung up and went about our days she said something, and I can’t forget it.

It’s like… we’ve come full circle to another year, and we’ve survived all these firsts and we’re tired. But the circle doesn’t end, it starts over again. I just can’t believe it. It’s hard… but it’s good, you know.”

I got a tattoo on the anniversary of mom’s death, the words of our favorite hymn scrawled like a bracelet around my arm, a circle of sorts. A reminder as I run my finger along the cracked skin of this scar as it heals :

Great is Thy Faithfulness. I am changed. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

I have to tell my story this year, in more ways than one, and with more words than the sum of all those I have poured out before. Some of my words will land in ink and paper, some in different corners of the internet, some on the cutting room floor.

Today, all of it feels fragmented and unfinished. I hesitate to plunge back into the memories again, to the death and the hurt and the pain. And I hesitate in this beginning of a new – another – year. I hesitate to watch the calendar and the seasons turn, toward every anniversary of the whole experience.

Maybe it’s because I worry sometimes that this is the only story I have to tell – sadness and loss. Grief. Is that all there is for me?

But I see in the circle that every end is its own beginning, and that’s His faithfulness in this story.

I can plunge into the depths, knowing that life will come from it. From telling my story comes life for someone else’s story. Grace abounds. The cup overflows. I find blessing in that. Great is Thy Faithfulness.

It is a surprise to me, even now, that I can say that of grief and mean it.

  • http://www.fromtwotoone.com/ Danielle | from two to one

    Oh, Bethany. I feel your simultaneous grieving and praise of God’s faithfulness. You inspire me, friend!

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thanks, love!

  • http://www.cross-platform.org John Hanan

    I’ve written here and there about my own experience with losing my dad more than five years ago, but I don’t think even now I could write as you do. You’re very brave, Bethany. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thanks, John. I would love to hear more about your relationship with your dad and what your grief experience has been like, if you ever want to email me. Blessings, friend.

  • http://twitter.com/Drebelle Andrea Beltran

    I’m at a loss for words after reading this post, Bethany. You’re inspiring. Thank you for sharing the beautiful moment with your grandmother too.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      Thank you, friend. You’re always so encouraging! It keeps me going. ;)

  • http://foodandfireforthemind.wordpress.com/ Marta

    De-lurking to tell you how beautiful this is. I lost my mom to cancer fifteen years ago. Grief and mourning can bring joy and beauty. Often times that comes at painful cost. It doesn’t make sense, but it is true nonetheless. I, too, worry that grief is the only story I have to tell, the only thing I can write about with any expertise. But I’m learning that people need to hear the reality of grief. They need to know that death isn’t something you get over. It’s something you carry with you… and it doesn’t have to be grim. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts. You’ve inspired me.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      “People need to hear the reality of grief… it isn’t something you get over.”

      YES, Marta. This is what I keep coming back to when I think about writing more about this experience. I feel called, and if sharing my story is just so that someone else understands that it is okay to mourn their loss openly and it helps them heal, I am more than okay with that. If it means I help understands life and faith better, and it gives them hope and a way to cope with their grief, and it connects people like you and I, that is pure joy. What a miracle!

      Thank you for de-lurking and leaving such a lovely comment.

  • http://twitter.com/102crowquill Paula

    Such a beautiful post honoring the infinite circle of love embracing you right now.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

      “Infinite circle of love” – such a beautiful way to describe that and tie it to the bit about my grandmother. I hadn’t even noticed that in my own writing. Thank you for drawing that connection. ;)

  • BrennaDA

    This is just stunning. Thank you for trusting us with the pieces you have given us.

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