Monday, December 15, 2014

Just Thoughts

It seems ridiculous that a pop song could bring a grieving mother comfort. Although I have to admit, that is the truth.
               This is the part when I say I don’t want ya [the sadness]
I’m stronger than I’ve been before
This is the part when I break free
‘Cause I can’t resist it no more [my living life]….

I only wanna die alive [not from my grief]
Never by the hands of a broken heart
Don’t wanna hear you lie tonight [the devil in my ear]
Now that I’ve become who I really am [ a survivor]

When it came to Madeleine’s 3rd birthday this song got me through that period because I did – I felt stronger. I felt unbroken by my grief. I felt like it is ok for me to want to live for today, for this life, for my family in my care. And true to the grip that is grief, I am weaker now than in October. September and October are brutal – Childhood Cancer awareness month followed immediately by her October 2nd birthday. It’s a daily – near hourly – pounding into my head and heart why my child is not with us, and then the feeble attempt to recognize one of the most glorious days in my life – the day I gave birth to her. Followed by what seems to be the slow motion of the family holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. We love her so much, and miss her nearly as much. Right now I’m struggling to find the strength to feel ok this holiday season.

Annalise brings me so much joy – her smile, just staring at her while she’s doing something she loves, completely unaware that I’m drinking her in to my memory, cherishing every curve of her face, every quirky lick of her lips, every blink of her long, thick eyelashes. I am so in love with my child and I thank Jesus every day for giving her to me to love, appreciate and teach, as often as I stumble and try not to fail.

My mom said it beautifully the other day – Madeleine was just too perfect for this world; and I appreciate those words so much. At the same time, Daddy and I will never understand or make sense of what happened; why she suffered so much in this life. Life is not fair: no one knows that statement to be truer than a parent who has lost a child.

For whatever reason, today is tougher than others. Today I miss her terribly - not that that changes from day to day, but today hurts just a little bit more, a little more sad. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Big Sister starts Catholic School

It seems we always want our littles to stay little- relish in their sweetness as long as possible. Before they don't want to spend time with us anymore but run from their classrooms ecstatic to tell you about their first day in their new class. 

Today was one of the happiest days I've had in a long time. It was a very proud moment and a little emotional pulling up to the school. We have struggled to not let out grief overrun our lives, to provide for our family, to keep trying to move forward. And this morning was such a proud moment because despite any struggle we have faced- and there have been many- we felt so strongly that a faith-based education was the absolute best for Madeleine's big sister, and we made it happen, at any cost. I think as parents we want so hard to make our children's pain dissipate no matter the circumstance; the same is absolutely true for a grieving child. We believe wholeheartedly that when nothing in our life with respect to Madeleine has made sense, our faith has gotten us through, given us peace, given us someone to blame, someone to beg, made us throw our hands up in surrender. How can you possibly articulate those feelings to a small child? You can't. But you can give them the power of prayer and faith. And loving teachers that take extra time if your child is having a bad day, like we all do, to express herself and find comfort. I really just couldn't be happier that Annalise is there. It makes my heart SING.

It's incredible how time flying can be both a blessing and a curse to those of us with angels. For those of us struggling through another day with other children to raise, there are beautiful days of joy. Thank God for those, as they get us through another day, another week. 

P.S. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing my angel's face in this picture. She makes our pictures complete.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Victory for Moms

Yesterday I fell apart. Trying to keep Easter a joyful day, I suppressed all of my emotions missing her. They came spilling from me intermittently on Monday. Thankfully I have good friends who listen; just listen. A head nod; an acknowledgement that this is hard and awful but you're fighting for you and your family; all so supportive. I am so thankful that even in mini crises, I have support.

Today, I arrived to work early.
Last April, I could barely get out of bed if I even went to sleep the night before.

Today I stood in front of a mirror and applied my makeup.
Last April, I barely combed my hair twice in one week, much less put makeup on my face.

Today, I felt just a little victory in the progress of my life: as a wife, as a mother, as a woman.

I know I am not the only woman, the only mother, to feel like life just shouldn't go on. I know I am not the only mother to have these hopeless experiences. I know I am not the only mother who still cries herself to sleep at night missing the warmth of her child's arms around her neck, or a little rub of her child's nose to hers, or hearing that sweet, precious voice in her ears. Those women, those mothers, I love with as much intensity as I miss my child. Because they miss theirs as well. And I know what that feels like.

Today, I am claiming a little victory for mothers of broken hearts, with their missing piece in heaven. We will get out of bed and make our child proud of our strength and endurance to live the life we must with some hope and joy.