"Whenever I've seen someone enter this world or leave this world I feel like I'm standing on holy ground," said a pastor friend of mine as we were talking about newborns. At the time I had never seen someone leave this world. And now I have. Sunday I sat with Lauren and her family as her father left this world. Holy ground, yes. Broken heart, yes. Deep sadness, yes.
Yesterday I mentioned this in my post, and today I want to add more. Lauren is ok with that, and I hope I can keep it simply honorable. I want to tell the sweet moment that we all experienced. In a day where sweetness and goodness felt so out of reach, love showed its face in a very empty feeling place. It's not silver lining, it doesn't fix things, and it doesn't take the pain away. It was just a gift that felt like love. It was a gift from God.
When life hands me lemons, I see that Burl put his play lemon in the bowl of lemons and remember that babies help make things sweet. Another sweet gift.
During the day, we watched Danny's heart rate go from steady, to erratic to very low. When the slow, low line was pointed out, Lauren, who was sitting beside him in the hospital bed, leaned in like she had several times that day and said, "I love you" loudly. And the line spiked. High. She said it again and it spiked it again. Two big spikes. We said it all together and nothing happened. The line didn't spike. Lauren said it a third time and it spiked one more time, just not as high as the first two times. After that he died. And the sting of death felt so sharp and we wept and my heart broke for my friend who lost her father, who lost her mother nine years ago, and her grandmother four months ago.
As we have grieved and wept and talked since then, we remember that Danny knew his only child was right there and he loved her back with the beat of his heart, the only way a dying man could. He couldn't do anything else-he couldn't talk, open his eyes, or move on his own. He could only do one thing. He used his heart to show his love for Lauren, for the joy of his heart, for his beloved daughter.
Two weeks ago when Lauren and her babies came up for her birthday.
Even though those heartbeats didn't erase his permanent absence or make anything better, it helped. In an empty space, it was a little bit of love that spilled in. It's the sweetest thing that happened that day.