The time and space it takes to walk the dusty road is exactly what my heart requires- there is just something about it that speaks to my soul. It is in this trek that I sometimes consider what would have been and of what would we have become. I think about what it would be like to have the opportunity to console my baby girl’s broken heart, to see her accomplish the seemingly impossible or to be able to gaze with her into a mirror and whisper “you are beautiful.” I contemplate how it would have been with my brave one- Would he have placed a protective arm over her shoulders or would she be an inconvenience? Would they have fought over the bathroom and who would get the front seat or would they be unshakable in an undisputed alliance. Would the time they spent playing have turned into conversations of only they would know the details. I ponder whom she would have become- would she still stop on a dime to inspect the creature or cup a dog’s face. Would she still beam realizing her Da replaced the small bundle of flowers beside her bed? Would she still snuggle in beside me to sleep just one minute longer? And always, when I allow my mind to walk down the road of what life would be, the place where I was convinced my heart had healed suddenly cracks open. All the “what ifs” remind me of the “what were” and I miss her more today than yesterday and know I will miss her even more tomorrow because isn’t that what happens when you love? Isn’t it when you love deeply, you love more today than yesterday and will tomorrow? Why then would it be any different when you have to say goodbye to one of the very beings who opened your heart to a love overflowing?

And then it happens on this old dusty road. Just when the sadness seems to have convinced my feet to take root into the earth and I think there is no possible way I can continue to walk this dusty road; I am reminded. It is a reminder that comes through the gentle breeze that dries my cheeks or the patch of violets that seem to have the power to unearth my hands from my pockets, freeing them to reach down and pluck the tiny flower. It is a reminder that is met as I look to the heavens with questions and encounter the bluest of blue and I can almost feel her bright eyes looking into mine or the flock of robins that emerge from nowhere and take flight.

She would insist that she could catch the robins. When they would gather on the lawn she would run full sprint towards them, open arms ready for a beautiful encounter. The robins would flee and there was always a moment of quiet where she would stand silently-I dare say she was wrestling with disappointment and awe: disappointment that she didn’t catch the robin but awe of the beauty as they all took flight. After a few minutes, she would square her shoulders and turn back and return to that from which she had been distracted.

Yes this dusty road allows my heart to ponder: would she have been left in awe of the rush of wings had she actually caught a robin? And as I consider this very question I am offered the time and space to wrestle with my own disappointment while at the very same time, be captivated by the beauty that surrounds me: the creatures who seem to peek from the woods and glide through the air, the parade of flowers, the children running, dogs galloping and families walking in the distance. It is on this dusty road that I have come to understand disappointment and awe have the capability to go hand in hand- disappointment with the what would have been can somehow exist with the beauty of what will be. This dusty road offers me the time and space to walk quietly knowing, surely, her hand settles into mine as she walks this dusty road with me.