Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Four years & Stephen Colbert

I've liked Stephen Colbert for a long time. Ask my dad - the number of times I asked to watch the Colbert Report instead of reruns of The Daily Show is too high to count (sorry, Jon Stewart, and sorry, Dad). Colbert has always made me giggle, and smile, and laugh/snort/chortle. And when he started saying things like this on the air I knew he was the comedian for me:

Funny, loves Jesus, and has a wicked eyebrow raise. What more can you ask for?

I'm eagerly anticipating the start of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in September, and today I read the cover story about him in GQ. And more than laughs it was filled with heartfelt reflections on grief, and suffering, and joy. 

When Colbert was 10 his dad and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash. He's the youngest of 11 kids, and everyone else was out of the house, so it was just him and his mom after the crash. (His mom sounds seriously amazing. And if you want to see one of the most beautiful moments of television, watch this tribute to her when she passed away in 2013.)

In the story, he says:
“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that's why. Maybe, I don't know. That might be why you don't see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It's that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened. 

Today marks four years from my Mom's stroke. I've been weepy and teetering on the edge of the waves of grief for the last week - somehow my body and my subconscious recognizes the date before my mind catches up. I keep thinking to myself, like I'm still three, "I want my mommy."

Reading this, today, was a grace. I'm not there yet - I don't love it, yet. (But it took Colbert 25 years, so I have some time.) But even though I want my mommy more than anything right now I also wouldn't change it for the world. My mom's stroke and cancer and death have made me who I am, have led to my vocation, have brought me to my soon-to-be husband. I wish with all my heart that it had not happened, but at the same time I'm so grateful that it did.

Mom, I miss you, and I love you, and I wish you were still here, but I wouldn't change the time we had together, or the life you led me into.