Friday, November 7, 2014


How long will it take to grieve the past,
the precious days & years
the myriad of memories
the magic of a baby
the close-cheeked hugs of little girls
the years of princesses & drawings & books & cute things said
the decades of schools & friends & birthday parties & trips
the love of animals & music, dancing & silliness
the moments of prayers & tears, secrets & learning, surprises & spontaneity -
they are too many to count...almost too many to remember.
How long to grieve it?
A million years, I think.

How long will it take to grieve her growing-up days?
the passage of time, the changing of schools & homes
the acquisition of languages & cultures, loves & talents
the trips taken together, the laughter shared, the lessons learned
the sibling affection & rivalry, the development of gifts
the guests, the meals, the craziness, the ¨UN¨ that was her comfortable home place.
How long to review the passage to teen, the studies, the friends, phone calls & chatting?
How long to remember one more time the choosing of subjects & friends,  faith & direction?
How long to see her all grown-up & beautiful at a dance or proud at graduation or her fierce loyalty to friends & family & countries?
How long?
A million years, I think.

How many things to be rewound & revisited in the movie of her life...
her launching out to her year in France - her discoveries, her lovely French,
her love of the family she cared for, the spiritual renewal & vision she revolutionized our home with, the independence she learned, the lessons she plowed through.
Then the years at university that she forged with strength & determination,
the assurance of her loves of international studies & leadership,
her relational gifts & her beautiful way of expressing herself, her leading out of her spirituality and her struggles for authentic expressions of faith and body life
What about her intrinsic love of literature & art, music & food and all things ethnic?
How long will that take?
A million years, I think.

How long will it take to lovingly remember her friends, the ones she has loved & created a million memories with in Argentina, Morocco, Spain, France, the US - and around the world?
The globe was their playground!
The world was theirs for the taking!
The coffees and mates, dinners and late night baking caused them to gather -
to gather and talk, wonder, question, laugh, sing, pray, debate, argue, love on, aspire to, dream about, encourage and live with...
The memories of lessons learned, life experiences gained, passions shared, causes fought for, identity solidified, humor recorded,
The shared marks on a heart of an urban term or an overseas term, a conference or rally or concert -
always doing life with those dear to her, whether near or far...
How long will it take for them?
A million years, I think.

How long will it take to grieve the present?
The wonderful unexpected time of having her in our home again, the caring for her, the earnest praying for her,
The deep things God was doing in her, the eagerness for wellness to get on with the beautiful plans He had given her for her life,
The wondering together of what God was going to do, the expectation of what He could do & its ramifications...
And the long will it take to grieve the suffering?
The suffering of this long year, the physical & emotional, social & spiritual suffering for all of us
How long will it take?
A million years, I think.

To miss the sweetness of her hand in her father´s, the smell of oils of her sister´s massage of her hurting body, the kisses & notes of a brother and the love & presence of a mother, always the presence of a mother...
How long will it take to miss the one who looked at me and immediately understood what the Dr. had told me?
How long to reread all the notes, cards, e-mails?
To look again at the artwork, the photos and the precious gifts sent with such love and affection?
How long to watch the reruns in our minds of the family unity we enjoyed this year in spite of her limitations?
Or to savor the preciousness of every minute as we learned to do...
How long will that take?
A million years, I think.

And how long will it take to grieve the future never lived?
The graduation unmet, the overseas Masters never acquired,
the NGO platforms never used to ¨make a difference¨.
The 3 languages never used, the Arabic never perfected,
the Syrian refugees never touched as she so yearned to do.
How long will it take to grieve never watching her fall in love?
To never get to know the wonderful man who would have finally captured her heart?
to never help her plan her wedding day, to not celebrate with her
to not watch her dance the ¨Cinderella Song¨ that she always planned to dance with her father?
How long will it take to grieve not being able to visit her in some cool place and hold our grandchildren & watch them in their multicultural environment?
How long to grieve her sister´s emptiness at moving on without her and her immeasurable loss of her best friend in the rest of life?
To not have her sister near her during university years, to explore the world with, to be present at important life events?
How long to grieve her brother´s growing up through the teenage years without her input and example? To not have her Skype or come home at Christmas or make him an uncle someday?
How long will it take to grieve who she could have been, where she would have gone, who and what she would have influenced?
How long?
A million years, I think.

How long will it take to grieve the past, present & future of someone so precious to me?
I think it may take...a million years.

Photo by: Michael Schaffner


  1. Oh Pam. How very long it must feel indeed. Grieving with you all today. Dana

  2. So true, so sad, so rich in expression. I see, hear and feel your losses. I can only send love.

  3. I read this yesterday, I'm back to read it again today. I cried both times. My heart is so heavy for you.

  4. Thank you, dear are all such treasures to me.

  5. Your pain is so raw - I sorrow with you all. As I've meditated on these verses, you came to mind. Your words of grieving have already helped many others walk through their own grief. And I know that as He comforts you, He will continue to use you to bring comfort to others. "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." Praying you'll continue to know His comfort as you walk through this valley.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl....I´m sure you´re right that all these things will be wrapped up into good by the Good Shepherd. If others can receive comfort through us we would be amazed & thankful...

  6. I follow your writings since the beginning of the "journey", and deeply touched every time...
    Met her in Beirut, and Jen was the amazing bright light every time I saw her...
    All the team loved her, in Arabic they loved... in every other way they loved her...
    Many called her "the angel" and honestly I think these days that she's the angel that you...
    The many she touched...
    "Borrowed" from heaven for so many years, and now it was time to go back...

    Much love to you, Bruce and the rest of the family

  7. Nadim, You were an angel to her during her time in Beirut and you brought great comfort to her father´s heart! Bruce will always be indebted to you! THANK YOU for all the love you, your family and your staff gave to her. You all helped her through that challenging time...way more challenging physically than probably any of us every realized or imagined.
    Thank you for ¨banging on heaven´s door¨ with us all these months, bless you for your friendship...
    much love to all of you there in Beirut