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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Thanksgiving Blessings-Reflections From A Mom Who Lost, Yet Won

It was November 27, 2002 and the clock had just turned past midnight. After a rigorous 24 hours of labor and nearly missing an emergency C-section, early this Wednesday morning my beautiful daughter Lydia Marie was born, weighing 8lbs 2 oz. and covered in a full head of dark hair.  Heavily medicated and exhausted, I couldn’t believe what had just happened.  I had a baby.  A daughter.  My heart was bursting with a gigantic love, one I had only ever read about.  She would be named after my great-great grandmother, Lydia.  Parents and friends sat anxiously in the waiting room for hours, fighting sleepiness, unwilling to leave until they were able to meet our precious baby girl.  She had a wonderful entrance into this amazing world; loved, adored, and cherished by so many. Little did I know, she would be the one to teach me the most valuable of life’s lessons, and only be here a short while.

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The day after her birth was Thanksgiving Day, and with a little coaxing the doctor, we were able to bring her home for the first time. My dad drove my car, fighting a blanket of thick fog, as Lydia and I snuggled in the back seat. As I carried my beautiful girl to the front door, I realized this was no longer my home, but now ours. It was so full of love as we were welcomed by our family, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, all eagerly awaiting our arrival. The amazing aromas of a delicious Thanksgiving dinner immediately overwhelmed me, and I was overtaken with the comfort and blessing of bringing my Lydia home.  Lydia was a tiny bundle of heartwarming love.  We passed her around like a little hot potato, each gawking at the awesomeness of new life.

 Everyone adored her, making me fight for time just to hold her that first weekend of her new life. She was so loved that no one wanted to give her up.  The first grandchild on my side of the family, spoiling her rotten was the only way, according to my mother.

When I looked in the mirror for the first time with my new title as “mom,” it revealed a transformed young woman, three years out of college, in the beginning of a career, learning how to navigate in this big world. In the midst of finding my way, this new life was suddenly handed to me.   I was unprepared, and unable to comprehend the immense gift I had just been given.  Lydia opened my heart to a new life, a new world I had never before imagined. What a fabulous day it was. The best day of my life.

www.grievinggumdrops.com

In 2008, Thanksgiving came rushing in, three months after she had passed away.  I must say, the last thing I felt like doing was gathering with a house full of people and I quickly grew to despise the word “happy,” and anyone who used it.  My heart was devastated and showed me excruciating pain I never knew possible.  For years, yes many years, I dreaded this day as I lived in a blanket of sadness and deep sorrow and looked with contempt towards others who were celebrating with delight.    

As the days and years progressed, slowly I began to evolve, hatching from my cocoon inviting sparks of hope into my life and soon, they out shadowed the darkness. I found myself smiling more, and counted the days in between the tears.  Progress was being made.  My faith was growing and glimmers of hope were blooming inside me.  I began to forego the judgmental self of previous days, learning to appreciate the struggles of others, understanding full well that each one of us is fighting a silent inner battle.  

 As our family gathers today, my heart reminds me that I would give anything to have all my children sitting around the table. Although she is not physically with us, she is with us in spirit. We talked, we laughed, we remembered her.  This year marked the 9th Thanksgiving without my girl.  Hard to believe it’s been that long. Time passes so quickly.  Yet, I soon was reminded that I am immensely blessed in life and grateful for His promise that I will see her again someday.

 www.grievinggumdrops.com

So, for all of you. Absolutely count your blessings.  Find something to be thankful each and every day. Serve others with love.  Life is so much better viewed through eyes of gratitude.  

Thanksgiving will always be a challenging time for me as I am flooded with years of memories of the precious time I had with my blonde haired blued eyed daughter, in which we celebrated her birthday as well.  Five years, eight months, and 16 days, she was mine and I was hers.  And nothing will ever change that.