Saturday, April 25, 2015 marked the 12th anniversary of my father’s death.

Sunday, April 26, 2015 marked what should have been Kevin’s and my 35th wedding anniversary and the second one I would celebrate alone as a widow.

Tough days.  They could have been ugly, lonely, and filled with bitterness and pain. 

Instead, the days shifted, glistened and overflowed with the colors of life like the multi-faceted fall leaves that drift from the trees and gather together into a kaleidoscope of beauty. 

It was a weekend of healing.  A weekend that reminded me of God’s presence in my life.  Of His grace.  Of His love.  Of His promise to be with me always and to make all things new.  It honored the past.  It celebrated the present.  It promised the future.

Old anger, loss, and shattered dreams, like broken branches and brittle brown leaves on the ground, began to decay and break apart.  Many of the remnants were softened by splashes of tears.  Others were blown away by winds of kindness.  Those pieces that remained, created the softened lines and dark rich colors of life. 

Bright leaves of yellow, red, and orange swirled, twirled and swept into my view.  They were created out of the joy of a bridal shower, the energetic wiggles and giggles of a toddler birthday party, the gentleness of intimate conversations over tea and coffee, the warmth of hearty embraces and steady firm hugs, the explosion of boisterous laughter, and the comfort of shared tears. 

Fresh green vines and plants took root and grew as I cradled new babies, swept toddlers into my arms, soothed scrapes and removed splinters, welcomed and gathered family into my home, and introduced my sisters to the garden columbarium where Kevin is interred.  Our home was filled with life -- a life welcomed, treasured, celebrated and honored.

As the days passed and the kaleidoscope continued to shift and shine, my soul found peace and comfort in God's loving presence.  Even as I continued to miss Dad and experienced a poignant and sharp pain without Kevin at my side, I was strengthened with the knowledge that they live on in the stories, memories, looks, voices and lives of those who knew and loved them.  

Today, as I ponder this precious gift, I am filled with new hope.  When I stop, lift my eyes, and look ahead, I can see that the kaleidoscope is not a solitary picture which ends at my feet.  It is the beginning of a new path -- one filled with the swirls of color, beauty, and life formed by my past, my present and my future. 

God is fulfilling His promise – He is making all things beautiful – and new.