Or maybe it was, but it was also the best.
It was just the year of extremes. Extreme joy and extreme pain. Extreme anxiety and extreme peace.
I have mixed emotions about leaving this year behind.
I don't like leaving Maura behind in 2009. Now I can say, "My daughter died last year." Oh, but that sounds so far away, and I don't like to feel far away from her. On the other hand, I'm also that much closer to seeing her again, but am I supposed to just wish my life away? No.
I liked the closeness of knowing I had hugged her just today or yesterday, last week, last month, six months ago.
What will it be like in six? Will her memory be faded like an old snapshot? Will I stop thinking about her every moment of every day? Will her memory be like that of my parents, who I loved dearly, but no longer spend that much time dwelling on their lives or their deaths?
I practiced faith. Everything I believe about God was put to a test and it all proved true. He is all loving, all powerful, all merciful, all just. I can't express how happy and, I admit, relieved I am that I did not doubt that God would and has provided for Maura and for all of us who love her.
I practiced hope. At first, hope that it was all a big mistake. Then, hope in doctors, in medicine, in surgery, in a cure. Hope in a miracle. Ultimately, hope in God, and God alone. Not what He could do, but just hope in Him. Hope = Waiting. ...they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not grow faint.(Isaiah 40:31) I learned that verse of scripture from a choir song, so I can't say or write it without singing it in my head. And I got my miracle. Amanda's cure is the miracle. Annive Maura is the miracle. Seeing Maura so graceful and gracious and peaceful in her last days was a miracle. Surviving this is a miracle.
I practiced love. I don't think I have ever loved more purely than I loved Maura this year. Poor husband and other daughters--they were neglected for most of the year. Neglected by me, anyway. I keep thinking of the story of the Good Shepherd, who, leaving the other 99 sheep, went in search of the one lost sheep. I know that the theme of the story doesn't apply here, but what does apply is that the shepherd focused all his attention on the one sheep, as I focused my attention on Maura. 2009 may be the year that Maura died, but it is also the year that Maura lived. For five months she lived. The pain of 2009 is worth it for the five months of Maura.