Today’s the day of my brother-in-law’s funeral in New Orleans.

We’re not there.  We can’t be there for very strange reasons.

Today’s also the day of our five-year-old’s EEG, at 3 PM.

Any accident that’s the Mercy Hour?  No, I don’t think so either.  She seems perfectly back to normal after the big adventure from the other night.

All the same, my heart is in New Orleans, with family members I have been missing for years and who I long to hold.

We’ll have a chance to hug them soon, because the body is coming to Ohio early next week and there’s an interment, so he can be buried with his boys.

We have a few days before we’ll see them, before we can share the grief and gather around them and be family in person.  Before then, my husband’s face is going to haunt me, tug at me, remind me of many, many things.

Yesterday afternoon, he talked to Susie for the first time since this happened.  I couldn’t ask him what she said to him until four or five hours later, when the kids were in bed.  We both needed time to calm down, to breathe.

I’ve seen my husband cry twice before that moment.  I’ve never seen him cry hard or come close to sobbing.  I’m sure he has, but not in front of anyone, even me.

Susie told Bob some beautiful things yesterday afternoon.  It was a moment of grace for me, watching his face, hearing his responses, seeing his emotion, feeling his pain.

“I love you, honey,” he said to her, choking a bit on his tears, before he hung up.

All day yesterday, from the moment Lisa posted a request for prayers on her Facebook wall and continuing as I updated both on my blog and social networks, the comments and emails have rolled in, offering support and prayers and wisdom.  When Rebecca posted a prayer request last night, my site flooded with traffic, which included comments, prayers, support, and wisdom.

I joked with someone yesterday that I’m not a big fan of 2010 so far. Maybe I need to rethink that.

There has been a mountain of pain and there’s more to come, of that I’m sure.

But in that pain, I’m finding grace unlike any I’ve ever experienced before. I’m learning about things I had never considered and I’m growing closer to Mother Mary, knowing she walked this way first.  She feels our pain.  She knows our grief.  She sees our fear.

And though I may wonder, question, seek…she’s still there.  So is her Son.

Sometimes, the greatest gift is the presence of others.  Sometimes, carrying our crosses, we just need presence.  I am feeling God through all of you and in the daily hurdles of my children and the family members still here in Ohio.  Thank you for that.

Thank you too for your continued prayers for all of us.  You’re making these unbelievable moments of grace possible.  For that, we are all so very, very blessed.