My girls are missing a piece of their heart and this week I am struggling with how to help them heal. The mother in me aches to be able to put it right.
We've done okay with the whole grieving process thing, due in part to the sheer amplitude of our schedule. I think, each in our own way, we have worked to layer over the pain with activity. That was working well. Our ability to falsely cope and carry on with our lives was astonishing.
Back in September, when we lost our girl, we cried, we did the silent sobs, we knew in our hearts that it was for the best, and we trusted that God's hand was in and over the entire situation. We still believe all of those things. We do...with every part of us.
It's the empty without her that causes the pain. The way her face pops up on Facebook and Skype and the sweet tone of her voice coming from Little Bit's iPod on the nights when all she desires is to reach out and touch the computer screen and have her Aunt Sara firmly planted on the other side. In those moments, my heart breaks for these girls of mine who loved her like I did and who went to her to explain the messy and the beautiful in our world.
I think part of it is that we're closing in on six months. Every day brings something the chicks would like to share with her, and all of those days keep adding up. I understand, my loves, I do...I miss her too. I think everyone who was touched by her feels this space she so vibrantly filled in life.
This afternoon, after scolding my little, I asked her what in the world was going on with her...that she didn't seem at all like herself. Her response, complete with tears all in a row sliding down those rosy cheeks, hit me like a ton of bricks. "I don't know, Mama, I don't know what's wrong with me. I just know that all of this missing has me a mess inside."
I stopped, right there on that pastel rag rug where we'd done a fancy conference with a piece of our heart who happened to reside in Iowa no more than six months before. How could I begin to make this right? Scooping her up, cradling her like I'd done years before, I whispered into her head promises of remembrance, joy, beauty...all things that my heart sister would've said. Tears slowing, my rocking coming to a stop, we both took a deep breath and I realized that it's in the recollection that we are able to heal.
As a mother, I need to be intentional in the remembering. My girls need to hear the stories and see the photographs even if it tears me in two at times. They need to be reminded how deeply they were loved so that they, in turn, can share her love with those around them.
For someone who was a part of all of the details of our life, who went on every trip, car ride, and walk alongside us, she's been missed mightily in the moments of our days. The missing is normal. But I need to work on reminding the girls that although loving means letting go, it doesn't mean that it comes to an end.
It may just look a tad bit different.