February is a cold month, in many ways. Not only is it freezing, but the long nights and the frequent cloudy days make it a prime month for seasonal affective disorder. Yet that isn’t why I hate this month.
Some despise the month for its “Singles Awareness Day” that comes right in the middle of the month. Yet, that is not why I hate this month.
See 20 years ago this week was a pretty devastating time. Early in that week, a friend of mine went in for heart surgery and didn’t make it. He had a complicated life, with multiple surgeries and various health concerns. But it was still a shock to my entire 8th grade class that someone we saw on a Friday would not be coming back to school, riding our bus, or just playing around.
Just a few days later I was sitting at my grandparents with my uncle. He had just moved back home so my grandparents could care for him as the complications from AIDS was taking over his life. As we left, Mark began a rough coughing spell that just pummeled his 90 pound body. He went to the hospital late that night. By the afternoon of February 20th he could no longer fight.
A year later, my great-grandmother passed just minutes before I walked into the room to see her.
Since then I have watched as a young girl, just turning 3 months old, breathed through the smallest tube you can imagine. Just a few years later I was a hundred miles away as my uncle, the father of a high schooler, passed from an insanely agressive cancer.
Some people say that death comes in threes. And honestly, I usually start counting. But come February I settle in for the long haul. There are just too many lives to remember during this freezing, dark month- both those who have died and their families that grieve again each time the calendar turns.
Today, I penned another grieving prayer for an 11 year old girl. Though it was written for her and her family, 20 years of grieving in February are behind each word.
Gentle God, no words come. Few things can even begin to touch such profound grief. And in such times we can only imagine that you weep too. Receive this young girl today. And with her take our tears, our frustrations, our grief, and our questions. Hold them all as only you can. And hold her family in the hope of resurrection. For it is in the name of the risen one that we pray…