Make space

Just before 5pm, I threw my car in park. This might not sound strange except that I was on the on-ramp to I95. After sitting for at least five minutes, I decided to step out of my car and see what was going on.

Cop cars were blocking the ramp… and I95 Northbound looked like a ghost town. Not a single car was headed North. A few other people began to step out of their cars to satisfy their curiosity.

Was the president in town? Who else would have I95 blocked at rush hour? I stood behind the cement wall looking for any movement. And then in the far distance, coming from the South, I saw flashing lights.

My anticipation for action quickly faded into the sober realization of what was unfolding in front of my eyes. It was the funeral procession for Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger. My heart sank.

Click to play

After the motorcade of an entire special forces community passed, I drove the rest of the way in silence. I didn’t want the radio on. I didn’t want to listen to my audiobook. Despite the beautiful weather, the air was heavy — as was my heart.

Suddenly, from the recesses of my brain, a text message I had gotten on the anniversary of Dad’s passing came to mind.

Hey girl, I just wanted you to know I’m making space in my heart for you and your family today.”

Having received this from my friend who’d lost her dad unexpectedly just five months before me, meant a lot.

There was something about those two words: making space that comforted me. This friend knew that grief carves out space no one wants, yet its unwelcomed presence persists while everyone else’s lives seem normal.

Today, a lot of Broward County residence made physical space on I95 for two heroes to receive Presidential treatment. But, I want to make more than just physical space for them. I want to make space on this page for them — they deserve it.

I would have loved to meet Daniel and Laura. To hear about their work, their families and what made them want to serve our country by helping to save children from disturbed women and men.

I hurt for their family members who I’m sure got home tonight and no matter how full their house might be— it feels empty. I hurt because I know over the next few months/years they will want to tell their loved one about their day and how hard this season is… without them. To Daniel & Laura’s family, know that I am praying for you, and today…

I am making space for Daniel and Laura. I will make space by telling those still here how much they mean to me.

I hope today, in honor of Daniel and Laura, you will also Make Space.

END OF WATCH // 02•02•2021

You lose but you gain!

Please go…

I could feel my personal space begin to close…

Why?! Why do you catch me when everything is shut off. Why do you interrupt my silence? Haven’t you done enough? Taken enough? Why do you keep coming back?

Slowly walking towards me, I try and wrestle him off me… by now you’d think I would learn how to handle it…

I reluctantly give up my fighting. It is useless anyways. I collapse onto the sand and my grief sits right beside me. Like a friend who just wants to be near.

Why can’t you just let me live my life? I ask.

But, I am… this is a part of it.

How? You’re so cold, callous and evoke so much pain.

Without embracing me, as painful as it is, you will never fully live… it’s only when we lose that we gain.

How is that even possible? How could you say that?

We lose things, our work, or the people we love and we gain perspective. We see through the lens of loss, and in that others can gain from our seemly unbearable pain.

But why does it hurt so much? Why can’t you just not exist?

Because I remind you of what’s real. I remove preconceived notions. I remove the fluff, the surface level conversations. I strip away all the realities you have a tendency to create and remind you of the importance of not just life but this very moment. Each moment is a gift. You struggle with spiritually amnesia which is why I keep coming back.

Without me joy wouldn’t make much sense. Life is not a straight road but road through deep dark valleys and beautiful mountain peaks. It’s only when you embrace the sun setting, you gain an appreciation of the sun rising.

Were there no darkness you’d not appreciate the light..

You lose but you gain…

Reluctantly I, yet again, let grief be my friend. After he spoke, he didn’t speak again… his silence was deafening… but I know when these tears stop… I’ll have more room for the joy that I cannot see, but eventually will be…

Grieving in a way is an act of faith… It takes faith to let the pain flow up trusting that the joy will eventually fill you back up… knowing that one day He will wipe every tear from my eyes.