Tonight I practiced with the choir at church. I had not been in a choir for years. We practiced music for the Christmas cantata, anthems for future Sunday morning services, and the music for this Sunday. It felt so good to be singing in the choir again after several years.

One of the anthems we practiced brought about an emotional response. At my daughter’s memorial service in 1993, the hymn Jesus Loves Me was played with chimes. It was a perfect anthem for Jennifer, because in her developmentally delayed body, Jesus loved her just as much as he has ever loved anyone!

When I read the title of the anthem tonight, Yes, Jesus Loves Me, I had an unexpected pause in my breathing. The next thing I noticed was the beginning of an increased heart rate. I tried to tell myself the words to this anthem would not be the same as those in Jesus Loves Me. I opened the cover page to read the words. There were some different words but, there were the familiar words to the song as I knew by heart. The tune to the anthem was new to me, but that did not seem to relieve the memory.

Again, after 23 years, those feelings returned. I was experiencing grief and mourning as I heard the choir sing the anthem. Tears began to flow, silently. I wondered how my husband was doing as he was sitting a few rows behind me. He was one of the two men singing base. I didn’t know how he reacted until after choir practice and we were walking to the car. John had also had a difficult time with this anthem. We both decided that when the time came that the choir would present this anthem both of us would sit this one out. There remains a tender place in our hearts.

Even after 23 years, there is a time that we both experience and feels the loss of our daughter, the loss of dreams, the loss of what was normal for our family. So loss is not something one gets over. I have learned how to live and adjust to the loss but sometimes, there are those moments that will come out of nowhere! Tonight I experienced one of those unexpected moments. Now 2 hours later, I can see this as a growing step in continuing to move forward. May you see the same in your journey.

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