We first met over a dish of lasagna and I remember thinking as she told a funny story of something that happened to her in Home Depot that she was one of the funniest people I'd ever met and someone I could really enjoy spending time with. She had me laughing until the tears rolled. I have always enjoyed a good sense of humor and I imagined what good friends we would be. Somehow though that never happened the way I had hoped. As our lives intertwined over the next few years things instead seemed formal, polite and well...even kind of weird.
We shared a lot in common but never did I dream that six years later we would again share a meal as well as one of the worst tragedies imaginable.
This past weekend I had dinner with Kara's mom.
This was actually our second such meeting in the past few months. The first was five hours of an emotional roller coaster as we discussed the events of the past year. Unlike that, this meeting was a Christmas celebration with family.
Ours is a weird relationship that according to her, a lot of her friends and family do not understand. Quite honestly, I'm not real sure I do either. It has been a relationship that by all normal standards probably should never have happened, but I, for one, am so thankful that it did.
We had the worst imaginable common bond. One that would have driven most people to opposite ends of the spectrum. My son. Her daughter. Our baby. She had anger. I had guilt. Neither of us chose those emotions. Neither of us chose our roles in this odd family dynamic. But here we are --clinging to each other to get through this however possible. And as hard as it is to believe, we seem to find comfort in each other. And though we completely understand how hard this has been for our entire family we also know that no one else understands the devastation we live with like the only other mother and grandmother involved in this.
Still, the extraordinary graciousness she has shown towards my family has been unbelievable to me. It has gone a long way to provide me peace from the horrific guilt that I have suffered over this. As I've mentioned before although "we" do not in any way believe Brian could have been capable of this - we are acutely aware that the rest of the world certainly does and just as it causes me discomfort with people in my neighborhood and my small town, it has also bombarded me in heaps of guilt where Kara's family is concerned. I have enough empathy to walk in their shoes and in doing so I can't help but wonder how she is able to extend the grace towards us that she does. Only one way that I can see.
What a true example of God's grace and His forgiving love.