This has been the worst year of our lives and yet we are so thankful for all the love and support we have received. Today is the first anniversary of Mack’s death. It was sudden, swift, and completely unexpected. So was the response. From all corners of the world, around Penn State and State College, you sent us your love, your support, and your prayers. College friends of mine and Elizabeth’s flew in from all over the world to be with us. We can never thank you enough.
When I reflect on the past year I realize how fickle is time. I would have thought, and at times it has felt, that this would be the longest year of my life. At other times it is amazing to realize how swiftly the time has gone. At any other point in my life, say considering the years it would take to get to my first academic job, undergraduate, grad school, and so on, nine years seemed like such a long, long time. Yet Mack’s nine years were over in a blink of an eye. I often am the most sad when I feel like I am moving further (and farther) away from Mack, but recently Elizabeth put it in perspective for me. She said with each day, with each step we come closer to the day we will see him again. This is not something for us to rush, we have an amazing daughter to watch grew and to live alongside, but it brings me some joy through the tears.
When I look back on all that I have written on this blog about Mack, our grieving, and our living I am humbled by the responses. I write and post my thoughts because I need in some way to externalize them, to move them outside of my head. In that sense it has been a very selfish, cathartic process. Yet you have graciously accepted my words, sometimes challenging them (and I appreciate that all the more, even when some were rude), and many of you have said that it has helped you too in your own grief.
As clichê as it is, when the doctor came into the poorly named “quiet room” and told us that Mack had died on the helicopter the very first words in my mind were Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? We miss our dear boy so deeply, but we have not been forsaken. You have shown us that and given us the grace of God.