The mountains are pink tonight. Placed perfectly in front of a fading, but brilliantly blue sky. There is just enough snow left on them that you can see all the details in the rocky peaks. Lots of places for the color to saturate and bounce off of. It feels as if God placed them there just for me. My window doesn’t even face west, and so the colors and beauty is just a reflection of the real thing. What a God we serve. Sunset has always been Gods way of telling me it’s going to be alright. That no matter the muck I’m going through, at the end of the day, all will be made beautiful. The warm hues of pink and orange stop me in my tracks and take my breath away. And once I’ve caught back up, I cannot help but lift my eyes high and offer a silent praise and thank you for the reminder. A reminder that was much needed today.

It’s been a hard week (and it’s only Wednesday). I don’t know why some weeks are so hard. They always surprise me. But nevertheless, this week, my son’s absence in this family is huge. His place at our table, in our home, our cars, our summer plans, he is missed. As I was cooking dinner this evening, I looked over and saw Audrey giggling as our new puppy crawled all over her. In that brief moment, that puppy and all of his clumsy cuteness, was a glimpse at what life would be like with two kiddos. The hugging that looks more like wrestling. The symphony of laughter from a 4 year old little girl and her 2 year old little brother. Just as soon as the giggling started, it was stopped by a screech... the puppy had nipped Audrey’s toes. The moment was over. But it’s imprint on my psyche had just begun. I suppose it’s good to be forced to remember. To think about the moments I’m missing with my son, not in general terms, but in-this-moment life. Watching Audrey play alone in our backyard and wondering in great detail what George Mason would’ve been doing. Watching the puppy learn about life, get scolded, try again. Living and loving these humans that welcomed him into their pack. What would he have thought of George? What would George have thought of him? Laughing a little to myself as I imagine the many ripples of a 2 year old boy by an overly excited and very clumsy puppy.

Just as quickly as I noticed the beauty on the mountains out my window, the colors are gone and night is setting in. It seems like there is a metaphor in there. Because it is the same with the waves of grief that hit me. They come in and are gone. I can vividly picture my two year old in one instant and then in the very next be at a complete loss; because the reality is that I don’t know him at all. Would he have been shy or brave? Would he have been easy going or high maintenance? Would he be round and jolly like a hairless Santa Claus? Would there be curls for days like his sister? I don’t allow myself to ask these questions very often. Mostly because it’s painful when I do. It’s just easier to admit he’s gone and not think much beyond that, than it is to imagine what his life might have looked like. I suppose there’s a time and place for both parts of this grief. Almost like watching the reflection of sunset. It was likely as beautiful as the real thing, but in its own unique way. In the same way, some days I need the hard work of thinking through the what would have beens - a metaphorical western sunset. But some days I just need to survive, and that doesn’t allow room for the hard work - an eastern sunset view from my couch.

Today is a day for the hard work of grief. And honestly, I’m thankful for that.