Letters to Taylor: On Forgetfulness

Letters to Taylor: On Forgetfulness

My dear girl,

The ache of missing you is waking me in the middle of the night. It’s been a couple weeks since I sat down to “talk” to you, to write out the thoughts that continually float around in my head and surround my heart. I’ve been avoiding writing to you because it hurts so deeply to pen the words and stare at their starkness. Every letter to you is so much more than simple words on a screen. They are an exercise of grief, an emptying of sorrow, and a realization of what can never be again. Tears streaming down my cheeks, here I sit once more, wishing for your earthly closeness and longing to fully comprehend your heavenly gain.

Early this morning I couldn’t wait to write to you any longer. I tried to stop tossing and turning long enough for Daddy to be able to drift off to sleep, since I’ve kept him awake for several nights recently. Then I tiptoed downstairs to whisper a few words to you in the silent, dark night. It’s the only environment that feels sacred enough to hold them. The noise of this world clamors and fights against itself with each voice shouting louder than the last. It feels difficult to separate what is true and what is not. Somehow when I push a hard pause on daily living and remember what it was like to sit by you and hold your hand, then I gain clarity.

One of my favorite summertime photos of Taylor from years ago. Doesn’t she look so healthy and happy with her friend, Meagan?

Speaking of clarity, I’m confessing to you: I literally think my mind has lost its ability to process. You wouldn’t believe all the things that I’ve forgotten lately!

Last week the whole family went to visit Papaw to celebrate his birthday. Because I’m trying my best to continue to function in life amidst the ache of losing you, I was proud of myself when I managed to make a pasta salad and gather all the other ingredients and groceries that we needed to take with us. But after the 4-1/2-hour trip and parking ourselves on Dad’s farm in the middle of nowhere, I realized I left the pasta salad and all the other refrigerated items in the garage fridge, where I had planned to grab them just before leaving.

Then there’s your nephew’s karate testing and award presentation that I had planned to attend but didn’t write down. Guess who missed seeing him break his blocks? Yep. Your mom. Oh, and Sunday, I prepped the meat for Father’s Day lunch, turned the oven on, and planned to place it in the oven just before we left for church. But upon arriving at church, guess what I remembered? The meat sitting on the stove, covered in foil, ready for its baking time, but not placed where it could actually bake.

I could give you more examples, but they are all just mundane occasions where I’ve forgotten things for a few moments and then remembered them again later. Honestly, I don’t think I’m losing my sanity, though I wonder if there is a physical problem. I think I’ve just gained a ton of stress. The enemy takes advantage of the stress load and tries his best to use that forgetfulness to push me further into distress. His tactics have worked a few times recently.

But when I can remember to lift my thoughts to the Lord, beg him for strength, ask him to lift the fog, and accept a slower pace, then my mind feels much more at ease. I think this is when I miss you the most, because so much of our time together forced me to slow down and just be. You were exceptional at being.

Part of my self-induced stress is wondering who I am now that you are gone. So much of me was in you. Caregiver. Special needs mom. That was me. Those were two of my roles I loved and with you gone, those roles are no longer mine to claim. And without you, who am I?

One stellar Dad

I’m trying to be the best wife I can be to your incredible Daddy. I’m Mom to 5 wonderful, gifted kids at home and 2 amazing adult children. I’m sister to 8 and daughter to 1. I have so much to be thankful for and so many opportunities to continue serving the beautiful family God has given us.

I could continue listing all the roles and relationships I’m carrying, but is anyone their role? As I’ve worked through these thoughts of who I am without you, I know without a doubt that the Lord wants me to help hurting people. Each day for about six weeks, when I’ve begged God to show me what to do for the day, to get me through the day, his whisper back has been “Help hurting people.”

But it wasn’t until I sat down to write to you that I received this epiphany. I’m the hurting person. So, to help hurting people, I must help myself. This means being kind to myself when I forget things. Being the grace-giver I aspire to be, I often fail at giving grace to the first hurting person I see. The one in the mirror.

I try to imagine what life must be like for you now. While I can’t stretch my mind far enough to fathom your perfect body, mind and spirit in heaven, when I ask the Lord to reveal it to me, it’s like He whispers, “Your mind is only human, Girl. That’s the first change you’ll experience in heaven. You’ll have instantaneous understanding of Who I am and total comprehension of my love. Your girl is beyond anything you can wrap your head around right now.”

Until then, here’s another temporary goodbye, my sweet T.

I can never forget you.

With all my love,

Your Mommy

Letters to Taylor: On Procrastination

Letters to Taylor: On Numbness

Letters to Taylor: On Heavenly Kisses

Letters to Taylor: On Miracles

Letters to Taylor: On Singing Again

Letters to Taylor: On Anguish

If you liked this, you'll enjoy...

7 Comments

  1. Rachel Would, I was Blessed when you came out with your Book ‘One More Step’ In our GLG FB group.. I was then introduced to your Beautiful Daughter.. I read your Letter to Taylor with tears
    .Being a Mother I can not imagine.. What song comes to my mind is
    .’ I Can Only Imagine’.. When I miss my Mother who was leaving to Heaven with Our Lord. The morning That I missed and flew in that evening.. A Absolutely Beautiful Woman, Child of GOD.. Maybe the song can bring you some peace.. It does Me even IF I’m wailing out the song with cries and smiling all in one..Wondering What Mom’s experience was
    .IS.. You will know too.. I know my pain is nothing like yours.. I do know how it feels to Loose my identity when my Mom & Best friend left.. Until I see her again, I know loneliness may come BUT GOD Steps in.. He has You and Your family in His WIDE ARMS
    We know when GOD takes His Child It’s Between Him and them, personal.. And He keeps His Mighty Arms around us, For HE knows our pain. Love and Hugs out to you and your Family, Friends
    .and to all out here..

  2. Belinda Johnson says:

    Rachel- Your words hit home for me today. My husband & I can relate to the forgetfulness & interrupted sleep since losing our son 8 weeks ago. We still haven’t located a couple important items we misplaced during the days following his death.
    Grief is complicated. Some things have become easier to get used to, but we feel the void of his physical presence more intensely with each passing week.
    I can only imagine how much stronger you must feel that void as a former caregiver to your daughter. The smell of her hair you used to brush, the feel of her skin you bathed; all there in the back of your mind. I hope you find solace in your writing.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with others who may be experiencing a loss. God bless you & your family & you will be in my prayers as you continue to grieve❤️??

  3. Stephanie says:

    Rachel,
    Every time I read one of the your letters to your girl it gives hope and reminds me of how faithful of loving Father is.
    It’s amazing how in the midst of all the you went through, He continues to not only sustain you, but gives you a heart to love on others.
    I don’t know you personally, but I’m truly touched by you and your experience.
    I have a friend who’s two year old was recently diagnosed with cancer. I’m going to buy her your book. I know it’s going to fill her with hope. You are a vessel of God’s love and in your life I see His faithfulness and it makes me fall in love with God more and more.
    You’re in my prayers.
    Stephanie

  4. Kelly Lee says:

    Dear sweet Rachel,
    I cry every time I read your letters to Taylor. What a sweet picture of her in the swimming pool…so happy. I share many experiences with you… the quiet of early morning calls me to be alone and talk to God. I too often wonder who I am? Wife, mother, teacher (I teach kindergarten), daughter, sister, grandmother… each of these roles pulls at me in different ways and often the stress and worry that goes with them takes its toll on my emotions. I worry about the world my two little grandsons are growing up in, I worry about my husband’s health ( we are both in our 60’s) and the changes that are coming as we get older, I worry about my mom as I see her growing older (83 years old) and sometimes feel frightened that I’m not strong enough to meet the changes that wait ahead.
    Rachel, you have helped me and so many others to know that God is there in the midst of all these things.

    I thank you for your love and courage.

    Please know that you are loved by so many of us and you are in our prayers.

    Blessings
    Kelly

  5. Attending Alzheimer’s support group before my husband passed we were told that the forgetfulness could come and labeled it caregivers dementia “. You do wonder if you are losing your mind but I think it’s all part of our grieving process. We stay so focused on the loved one we care for we don’t give ourselves time to deal fully with the everyday. Having lost a child, both parents, a spouse and only sibling I know if it wasn’t for God’s presence in my life I wouldn’t have made it this far. He is with you and you are NEVER alone. Hugs

  6. nicola smedley says:

    another day, my friend, in Him. another day knowing it is only by His breath you have breathed, with His hands you have touched, with His mouth you have spoken, with His ears you have heard. and with His abounding, heaven and earth-transcending and uniting heart have you loved.

    loved Taylor, beautiful, restored, renewed, living-in-perfection Taylor.
    loved your amazing and faithful husband
    loved your strong, yet at present hurting children
    loved us, by being willing to let us read and sup of your words. words of joy and of sorrow.

    another day, perfected only by His grace. He and He alone can and desires to fill in all the gaps, the breath held, when not wanting to cry, the breath pushed out when not wanting to keen aloud or shout in anger. the breath halting in fear of how to be in this moment without her presence in your home.

    i thank you for sending me your words.
    i thank you for going ahead of me as my sister in Jesus, along this hard and truly lonely path
    i know that the Lord has asked me to carry my beautiful boy, Nathanael, to Him.
    i thank Him for the privilege and the joy, now today, a day i did not know i would have.
    i thank Him for what lies ahead,, and for catching our tears.

    sending love, to you, knowing we will one day meet. from nicola in england

Comments are closed.