I've been largely absent from this space. When you take a leave, it's hard to know what the right words are to re-enter.
But what I wanted to share was not about tragedy but about brightness that comes from dark days.
We have had our fair share of dark days in the last few months. And talking about it in a place that is your creative space and outlet to talk about business ventures hardly seems "fun" or even appropriate. But I think the lesson of love is worth sharing.
When my twins were born, my Mother-in-law was the first person waiting in my room when they wheeled me back from delivery. Without fail, she visited with all of our children, at least once a week until several months ago. She was ever present in our lives everyday.
She was my youngest, my Sprout's very best friend. When you would ask Sprout where she wanted to go on a day off of school - the zoo or Grandmas....she excitedly would yell, "GRANDMAS!". They had a very special relationship.
My Mother-in-law has battled two different types of cancer in her lifetime. And when they told her for the 3rd time, they thought she had cancer - she politely said No Thank You to cancer and just lived and loved the most that she could in the time she had left.
She was really good at that.
So these last few months over the winter when she became very ill, my husband (with help from his brothers and a cousin who is really more of a sister than a cousin) became her full time caregiver.
What my husband did during those 56 days of her acute illness was teach our daughters a lesson in love that was priceless and irreplaceable and will stay with them as they grow and have families of their own someday.
My daughters watched their Dad tenderly care for his mother, love her, hold her hand, prepare meals for her, help her in every possible way you could imagine and well beyond.
They watched their Dad and their Uncles be vulnerable.
They watched their Dad be strong and at the same time, weak from exhaustion and sadness.
They watched their Dad put all of his energy into loving his Mother as much as he could every day. Not just when she was sick. But everyday. He always has.
It took a fair amount on everyone's part to care for Grandma. There is not an ounce of it that any of us would trade for the world.
We were reminded that we are never closer to God than we are when we are with someone transitioning from this life to the next.
Our daughters saw their father's faith in action and unconditional love and sacrifice. I'm not sure what better lesson they could ever receive than to see how we care for one another above all other things.
It's all that we have and it's all that matters. Each other. Here. Now. For Always.
It's the greatest lesson in love I think they may ever learn from their Dad. Not by his words but by his actions.
In that darkness and sadness of saying goodbye, there was so much bright light and love that I know it will carry our girls all the rest of their days until they are reunited again.
We are celebrating this sweet woman's life soon with our family and while I know there may be tears, there will be so much love and laughter. There will be hugs. There will be stories. It will be beautiful.
And my daughters will see just how great this love is for family and it will become part of who they are, how they love, forever.
What a gift.