Anniversaries… dates that we recall for some special reason. Typically I think we relate anniversaries to celebrations. Often they are attached to sad or traumatic events. Whether the occasion marks happiness or sadness I think it’s worthy of recognition.

As this week passed, the 5 month anniversary of my Grandmother’s death passed. As I look forward to the weekend our family will remember the 75th anniversary of my Grandparent’s wedding. For the last 17 years this date has passed and she could only look back to the years they spent together. This year, at long last, I find comfort and peace that on their Diamond Anniversary my dear Emmer and Weed are reunited. He has been gone for many years now, but she still talked of how she would awaken in the night and try to be quiet so she wouldn’t disturb Weed’s sleep. Then she would realize he wasn’t there. Night after night, month after month, for 17 long years, she never got used to living without her groom. This year, this special year, on their Diamond Anniversary, we can all celebrate that young love has been rediscovered.

After 5 months I still miss Emmer. I still think about her at 9:15 every morning and often reach for the phone to call and wake her up. Sometimes I replay saved voicemails so I can just hear her strong voice. I wonder who has taken her weekly Wednesday 10:30 hair appointment. In the same way that her daily routine revolved around what she was doing with me, my daily routine revolved around what I was doing with her.

Adjustments and a gracious learning curve…that is the gift I have given myself over the last 5 months. Emmer used to have a saying when anyone hit a bump in the road. “It’s not an arm or a leg so we move on” and she would sort of shrug her shoulders. I’ve repeated that to myself many times. I’ve wondered what she might say to me if she could speak to me now. You know, I think she would say the same exact thing. I haven’t lost an arm and I haven’t lost a leg (though sometimes it may have felt like it) so I must remain grateful in ALL things, for all that I DO have. I must remain grateful for the years and life that I had with Emmer. I must glean from those years all that I can and then press on. In her 97 years she said goodbye to a LOT of treasured and dear friends. I watched her weep in loss and heartache and then laugh and reminisce.

Memories have carried me through darker days and her unique sense of humor has carried me into brighter days. What’s next? It’s always the million dollar question no matter where you are in life. My life has already defied many odds. My Grandmother lived past 97, my Mother is a leukemia survivor and I live with epilepsy everyday. “It’s not an arm or a leg” and I can’t imagine that God has washed His hands of me yet.

Heartache is heartache, no matter the cause. In hindsight, I can share of so many things I learned through epilepsy and my brain injury. Everyone in my family experienced heartache during those first few years. I know that was part of God’s plan for gaining insight I would need later in my life as I became Emmer’s constant companion. When my injuries forced me to walk away from my career, I couldn’t imagine what God what do with me. I was heartbroken. He mended my broken heart and made me stronger. He has taught me great lessons in this heartache. He has been mending my brokenness and He will beckon me to His next purpose for my life.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)

So as we pass through a week marked with noteworthy anniversaries, I choose to focus on the celebration of reunions, the valuable lessons of heartache and the seasons of life God sees us through.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, June 2013


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