It's Quiet Uptown
Updated: Dec 19, 2018
Tara used to pair her Caring Bridge posts with songs that she enjoyed or that hit close to home. I decided to do the same today. Several lyrics from It's Quiet Uptown by Lin-Manuel Miranda are piercingly accurate in our family. I couldn't keep my eyes dry during this scene of Hamilton the other night at the Fox Theater here in St. Louis. The heart-breaking ballad begins:
"There are moments that the words don't reach. There is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can and push away the unimaginable."
I've heard Matt say so painfully on more than once occasion, "What she would have given for one more hour to hold her children." Here I am, holding them. We are working through the unimaginable.
When Matt informed our oldest Jack that his mom had passed, he asked his freshly widowed father, "Am I going to get a new mom?"
"Can you imagine?"
As a young adult with two living parents, I cannot. It is a trauma I will never be able to make sense of for my children, nor be able to relate to during intense times of grieving for my husband. In fact, I'm ashamed at how easy it is day to day to forget the magnitude of the sadness my family endures, and perhaps tries to push away.
These moments for my children are ones that their young hearts will always struggle to understand. These moments for me, are a constant strive to ease their suffering - with out a clue in the world of knowing how to do so. There are even more moments, tougher than the ones I witness, that those who have loved my family even longer were there to swallow. In these moments, words cannot reach the suffering. In these moments, Matt held Jack, Rachel, Tom and Sam as tight as he could and he tried to live one day at a time facing the unimaginable: That his wife and mother of four babies was taken from him.
These days, four years after Tara passed much too soon, I'm holding Matt and our children. I'm learning to lead the family life she built. All the while, I'm a little furious with God. My family brings me more happiness than I ever imagined possible. Yet, my happiness is at the expense of so much pain for so many people.
"Forgiveness. Can you imagine?" I'll never understand why God has parents burry their children and young children burry their parents. I have never asked Matt, but I think it is evident that he has forgiven God. He is such a happy man and lives with grace despite the destruction. As our little ones grow up I pray they might be able to do the same.
"There are moments that the words don't reach. There's a grace too powerful to name. We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable."
Vocation is a common topic when you grow up in the Catholic school system. They teach it as if you'll be called to the married life or the religious life. A clearer, less ultimatum-like way of interpreting it though, is to listen and wait to see what life might be calling you to do. Life has certainly called me to a place that was truly unimaginable. I may not have the words to reach every devastating moment. I may not be able to heal the suffering. But, I will continue to push myself to hold each one of my children as tight as I can, for their mother, Tara.
If you see my family, please, don't "have pity." We're learning to live with the unimaginable and finding our new normal.
I look around and I can't believe how lucky I am to be alive with these five right now.