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.
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?
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,