This weekend I was in the garden (the poor, neglected, half-planted garden) when I discovered that we’ve got little tomatoes growing on most of the plants.
It felt like receiving a little present, all those baby, green tomatoes. And after the challenging weekend I had, such a gift was sorely needed.
This past weekend marked the third anniversary of my father’s death. Additionally, it was Father’s Day, which made it an emotional one-two punch. I must admit that I have staggered a bit over these past few days, reeling back and forth between grief and joy. The grief comes, obviously, from missing my sweet Daddy, while the joy comes from being with the loved ones still in my life.
Right after my father died, I learned that every happiness I experience will always have some drop of pain in it. Every wonderful occasion, every milestone achieved, will always feel a bit….less, because someone I love dearly is not here to share it with me. I think this is a universal lesson, learned by everyone who suffers from a great loss.
But this weekend, I realized for the first time that it can work the other way too. Even when missing my Dad most fiercely this weekend, I was filled with the greatest gratitude; not simply for the memories that I had, but for the new ones we are constantly making. While they might feel a bit incomplete without my father present, they are still lovely memories filled with people I adore. And realizing that someday I will lose these people as well, makes me more thankful for my time with them now.
Perhaps losing someone makes us appreciate the small things more fully. To enjoy the squeezes from a four year old nephew when he comes to visit. To look for my son’s laugh during a funny part in a movie. To savor the weight of my daughter’s hand in mine as we walk through a parking lot.
To notice the little green tomatoes.