A Day in the Life of a Grieving Mother

I woke up this morning and sat up on my bed, legs dangling towards the floor.  The heaviness of my eyes was overwhelming. I was exhausted, yet weirdly refreshed and thankful to find that the stinging of my bloodshot eyes had subsided after a few hours sleep.

My mind didn’t waste any time reminding me of how I felt when I laid down those short few hours ago.

Sad. Heartbroken.

As I got up, the corner of my eye caught a glimpse of my heart that laid conspicuously on the pink flannel pillowcase. Black mascara decorated the top, providing me proof of the love that was shed. The fragile threads that mended my broken heart had torn apart, the years of love and sorrow finally freed. Again.

It had been a while, months since I had succumb to those persistent and pesky dog pile of emotions.

Yet they come, sure as the morning sun.  Learning to accept and live with them is difficult, yet over the years, I have learned to embrace these precious moments.

The ten years have passed by so fast. How can that be? Ten long years without my little girl.  Without hearing her giggle, tucking her in, and watching her grow.

What would she be doing today? Lounging around like most 16 year olds, getting her driver’s license, sleeping in on a warm summer morning? Arguing with her brother, or would she be tending to her lamb or eager to get to volleyball practice?

The pain is indescribable. But when I try, I can tell you that it feels so heavy and it’s difficult to breathe. When you want to talk with her, hold her, tell her you love her and all you can do is mutter the words and fall into your pillow sobbing in disbelief.

What triggered it this time? Was it that her birthday is tomorrow? Was it while we were out on a Saturday night and I overheard a mom say, “would you like this sis? Come sit down sissy.”

Ahhhh.

My sweet sissy.  I haven’t said that word in ten years.  The name that is etched in her headstone, Lydia’s nickname, “Sissy.”

Instantly, she flashed before me and I could see her strawberry blonde hair blowing in the wind as she twirled joyfully in her purple sundress giggling, looking like the picturesque poster of childhood.  So innocent and happy.

Holding my breath as my eyes welled up, I shook my head, turned and walked away.

How did this happen? Why did this happen to me?

I cry and cry. Why do we feel so much pain after all these years?

I just want to wrap my arms around her tightly, see her smile and tell her I love her.

One more time.

Five years, seven months, and 19 days just wasn’t long enough.

My mind finds it hard to fathom life without her now, attempting to piece together the two worlds in which I remain a permanent resident.

When I’m alone for the night while on a work trip or at home, what do I do?  I try to make sense of my life before and after and it’s almost predictable that tears will fall.

Silence and solidarity brings me to a place of reality.

My emotions overwhelm me. Being alone forces me to engage those pent up feelings, letting them run rampant without interruption, allowing me to be present in the moment.  So I weep and sob some more.

I talk to her and tell her I love her and how much I miss her.  How I miss her messy bedroom, boogers she left above her headboard, and her beautiful artwork that decorated the house.

I am immensely grateful current life yet still quietly yearn for my old life. I miss her being here, when life was simple, happy and free of heartbreak.  When I didn’t have to worry about grief, or her grave, or about all the years of events and triggers that seek to ravage my soul reminding me of what used to be.

Am I weak? No.

Shouldn’t I be over this by now, after all it’s been ten years?  Absolutely some would think so, but the real answer is no.  I will never get over it.

Am I strange? No.

Weird?  No.

When my faucet runs dry, I lay my head on the pillow, taking a deep breath and exhaling while clutching my bible.

Strangely I feel a bit better.  Over the years, I’ve learned that nothing or no one can comfort me like Jesus.

I am silently reminded that we are meant for so much more in this world that to hold onto heartbreak and pain.  Could I sit and wallow in my pain and loss for the distant future? Without a doubt. However, I know my sweet girl would not want this, nor does our amazing God.  Our time here is limited and our capacity to experience the complex feelings that come with deep love is a remarkable gift.

The hope we have been given shines light into those dark places of my soul.  I can rest in hope knowing that beauty will come from the tragedy of my daughter’s death and one day we will be reunited.  Until then, I wait faithfully with perseverance.

Romans 8:24-25: “In hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

 

 

 

Photo credit: Unsplash @davidwhitephotography

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Wrapped In Memories

Imagine your loved one is gone. Many days, months, or even years may have passed before you were able to face their belongings.

Have you ever wondered what to do with a loved ones belongings? This is a challenge many of us face after loss. Image

Personally, it took me five years to come to terms with my daughter’s bedroom overflowing with memories.  So many tears were shed simply sorting through the clothing, deciding what in the world to do with them.  With some trepidation, I reached the conclusion. I would organize them into four piles…Save (some of her favorites that I couldn’t bear to cut up), donate (for the ones she really didn’t like), quilt (for more of her favorites as well as mine), and one pile to give to my rainbow daughter.

After my daughter passed away, a friend’s mother in law surprised me a few months later with a quilt she had made by hand.  It was a beautiful piece of artwork , complete with photographs of Lydia on it. At first, I couldn’t bear to look at it, as the pain was too raw. It tore me to pieces. However,  over time, it became my favorite treasure.   The vibrant colors, fabric and her photos tied together, representing my daughter in perfect way was beautiful and comforting.  As we move into our new house this year,  it will be a fabulous addition to the family room wall as she will be right there with us.

One of my favorites I came across was a genuine woman from a little community in Oregon called The Dalles.  Geneva Dawson, owner and creator of Timeless Thread Designs, has made it her passion to preserve articles of clothing that belonged to loved ones.     memory quilt mickey

What does she do? By Making quilts, pillows, wall hangings, and throws made out of a loved one’s clothing, she enables others to be surrounded by their loved ones, while they are still here or long after they are gone.

Can you think of anything better than being wrapped in quilts composed of your loved ones most treasured clothing, as if their arms were hugging you tightly themselves? I can’t.

After her husband lost his father and brother, the inspiration began.  Wanting to keep their loved ones near and dear to their heart and she decided to use her talents to specialize in making memory quilts, which aided in her healing after the losses. Geneva has made it her goal to assist others in healing after loss.   memory quilt 2

Small to large and all sizes in between, Timeless Treasures can accommodate your wishes from standard patterns to custom designs. From old shirts, pants, ties and hats, to buttons, purses, and aprons, they can utilize it all.  In addition, they hand embroider with labels if you wish. A beautiful story of hope transpired from loss. You must see to appreciate her hard work and dedication.  In the end, you have a beautiful heirloom to pass down through the family.

Memory quilts are an essential gift for any grieving family.

Keeping the memories alive and close to your heart, you can guarantee, every stitch is made with love.

Find her at Timelessthreaddesign.com

memory pillow2