“We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a hallelujah sometimes.”
| Amy Grant, Better Than a Hallelujah
This song has been running through my head all day. I think it’s God’s way of telling me that it’s okay to have a moment and just let it all go. But I’m just not ready.
This weekend was my mom’s 50th birthday. It was a weekend we’d been planning for months, and it was supposed to be perfect. The family was all together, just like old times (this is not an easy task to coordinate these days now that most of the kids are married with their own families and responsibilities), the menu was hand-picked and the heat wave was just beginning to break with the setting of the sun.
The boys played football in the pool (and threatened to throw the girls in). The women sat in the shade, talking about the boys and cooing over the baby in his bright yellow floatie. We caught up on all the news and all the gossip and ended the night in the wee hours of the morning with karaoke at the top of our lungs.
It was supposed to be perfect. And it was, until the call came.
It was 5:30 in the morning, and I could hardly hear what she was saying. I’d hit the snooze button on the phone what seemed like twenty times, until I realized it wasn’t the alarm. It was my mom calling. I sat up under the covers and I knew immediately that I would regret answering the phone.
That was yesterday, and it still feels like a dream. A nightmare. This can’t possibly have happened; someone has this all wrong. I just spent the entire afternoon with him, and he was fine. He was throwing the football and jumping into the pool and poking me in the ribs when I didn’t see him coming, like he always does. He’s not gone. You’re wrong. This is just a bad dream.
I’m still waiting to wake up. They say that my Uncle Tim had a heart attack, but I won’t believe it until I go back to his house and he’s not there. Until I wait to hear his laugh because it’s all a big joke and I hear nothing but silence instead. Until I can look my grandmother in the eye and understand why she has to say goodbye to her only son.
It was supposed to be perfect.