On the Other Side of Tragedy
One of my favorite “December” songs is known by the Christian community and others as a tribute to Mary, the mother of God, sung near or on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Each December 22nd, I contemplate how deeply this song resonates within me as the flood of memories from my youth to the present day unfold.
Forty-three years ago today, at the young age of 40, Angie Zockle-Almasy- a city nurse, daughter, sister, wife and mother- died. The words said out loud still seem out of place when I say them. The notion of losing a parent at the age of 9 is both unimaginable and heart-wrenching. It surely was a turning point in my life. In an instant I travelled through a hole in the world- and it appeared to me that I alone knew it existed.
This new insight felt “other worldly” and would define my future path, shape my world and view of life in inconceivable ways. The words of, I Sing a Maid, pour through my mind, “and if the song had ended there our eyes would fill with tears, but ah! the song had just begun to echo down the years!” When I hear them, I have such a sense of gratitude for the woman who gave me life. Through her witness she taught me about faith, love and compassion for the suffering.
A New Hope-Roses With the Thorns
Several years after her death, we married my mom, Suzy. To be blessed with a mother who gave me life, then again with another to teach me to live it, has truly allowed me to experience God’s favor and protection in my life. From this new family unit came my brother and sister, and years later, nieces and nephews- who’s love and closeness give us so much joy in life it is inexplicable. There is such love and devotion in our family-crazy, wild and ridiculous as well-but so much good has come from the depths of that former tragedy.
Today, I give complete gratitude to God for both the thorn and the rose; for one could not have existed without the other. His grace and goodness toward my family has been immense. As the song continues, “now lift your voices, hearts and souls and sing with one accord…” and I REJOICE in him!
My wish for anyone suffering from loss, grief, tragedy- a thorn of any kind- is that you may experience the rose that will come!
Today and everyday, I hope that God in his goodness, showers you with his grace and grants you many blessings!