On Aug. 14th I wrote in my journal:
Today is Hope's heaven day. It has been one year since she died. Today marks the day when our journey with our special girls ended.
Today I grieve the loss of both my girls; cuddles on the front step during a coffee break; walks to the park so we could lie down on a blanket and watch the leaves dance on the trees; tea parties with Brodie; saturday morning baths and hair do's; a soft cheek next to mine as I hum a song.
Today I grieve the loss of our daily companions, our respite workers who helped, nourished and strengthened us without even knowing it.
Today I grieve the loss of 7am medication prep, diaper changes and fluctuating schedules...a 'busy'ness that gave me purpose and direction as I pushed away any 'sad' feelings.
Today marks the day when our lives changed with a certain finality. I still wonder at this change. Although I am living the new normal, it feels odd that life just continues. It should be easier, but somehow it is really hard.
It's interesting that I've felt fairly good about how this year has gone, and then suddenly I was hit by the loss. Reading about Hayden's death (the link to his blog is on the side), I find myself identifying with everything that Lauren is writing. I find myself remembering and hurting...a lot. And I realize that I have done a good job of avoiding the sad feelings, avoiding thoughts of the girls, avoiding the cemetary and avoiding this blog.
Of course, I had my moments where I allowed myself to think, to feel and remember. The obvious moments were easy (birthdays and anniversaries), and allowable, but they slowed me down. A visit to the cemetary would depress my energy level so much that I would struggle for a few days, with a physical and mental exhaustion that always surprised me. I didn't think about it much, I just tried to get through it without getting frustrated. Because I didn't think about it, and acknowledge what was happening, I instinctively avoided the cemetary.
The same thing happened with this blog. To sit down and write about this process, left me open to all my sadness and hurt. I felt too busy to be burdened by such overwhelming feelings of exhaustion, so I avoided the blog more often. Of course, I still had posts, but many of the things I would have posted remained in my head.
I kept myself busy at home, distracted with kids, work and books, and it worked for me. I'm not saying that this was wrong. I'm not saying that I never allowed sad moments. But I am surprised to see that I have avoided a lot of the sad feelings, when I thought I was doing okay with them. There is no right or wrong in grieving...it just is what it is.
I'm reflecting on this, because I've had a hard week. My struggle this week has been incredibly intense, and I wonder if it's because the one year anniversary has left me with a whole lot of emotion. Emotion that I have been avoiding.
I'm sitting myself down to reflect and re-evaluate. So far I've had to remind myself of these truths:
1. Death hurts and it is natural to feel heart-broken
2. It's okay that no one but God knows how I truly feel
3. Friends who listen without trying to fix are valuable
4. My own grief journey is unique and I don't have to meet anyone's expectations
5. I am perfectly loved and accepted right now and always by my God who understands everything.
6. Sad feelings, tears, moving slower and a messy house does not mean I am falling apart
I probably have a lot more to learn, but don't concern yourself with that. I am writing because it helps me a lot. I am also writing because someone might find something useful in what I am sharing. My loss might be unique, but perhaps you can identify with some aspect of my process. It is when we share our struggles, that we find support.
We are blessed that it is not all a struggle. We remember Hope wearing this beautiful dress from her Grandma, at Easter, 2009.