Grief is a funny thing. It comes, and it goes. It seems to not affect you at all, and then suddenly it is in your face. Things you would never expect trigger tears, while things you would expect to hurt instead bring a smile. We are still grieving the loss of Precious.
We grieve when Uncle Blu plays a song on his guitar and comments that it was Precious's favorite song to dance to. We grieve when Uncle Mulenga says that 2013 to him will always be "the year we lost Precious." We grieve when the kids run through the fields, chasing the goats, knowing there is one less than there should be. We grieve at birthday parties, when we blow up 20 balloons instead of 21. We grieve at prayer & praise service, when Axer does a funny dance and Precious isn't there to see it. We grieve when we have to make a copy of her death certificate to take to the Social Welfare officer in Choma. We grieve when Cason plays by himself in the bucket at Kids Club. We grieve when Teacher Debbie prays that we will have the strength to go on, knowing Precious is completely healed. We grieve when her sister Glory says she is afraid to go to the hospital, because people who go to the hospital don't come back. We grieve when Machila answers "Precious" in class when asked to name someone she would like to meet. We grieve when we fill up the cups each day for snack time. We grieve when we don't want to go and visit her gravesite, not yet. We grieve when we walk by the tub filled with her clothes that the housemothers begged us to give away. We grieve, but we do not grieve as those without hope.
We have hope, because we know Precious is dancing in heaven. We have hope, because we know that she is running through God's fields. We have hope, because we know that we will have the strength to go on. We have hope, because we know that Glory will be ok. We have hope, because we know that Machila will see her again. We have hope, because we know she has no need of hand me down clothes anymore. We have hope, because we know she really isn't in the dirt on the edge of the New Day land. We have hope, and we have the opportunity to teach our children, the village children, and the people around us about the reason for our hope. And because of that, as Mulenga said last night, our hearts are filled with gratitude, even through our sorrow.