Letters to Taylor: On Gifts in Grief
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to coming home without you here. You know I’m a homebody anyways. But part of the joy in our home was having you in it. I miss you so much. I’ve often thought of some friends, parents I know who lost their two children to heaven. Now they have an empty house with no children. My heart aches for them deeply and I ask the Lord to make himself known to them in their daily moments. I truly can’t imagine.
I know everyone is missing you. Oh, in a household our size, with all different personalities and likes and differences, we’re not all walking around openly mourning day and night. I’ve tried to limit my tears to times when I’m alone; I suppose it’s a protective mechanism for your daddy, brothers, and sisters. Sometimes the tears just spill over anyways and it seems that everyone understands. We are all processing grief and loss in individual ways and it’s going to be a long journey.
Right after God called you home to heaven, a precious friend brought a gift to each member of our family. The gift was a ring with your name engraved on it. Because I use my hands so much, I’m only wearing mine on special occasions, but several of your siblings wear theirs every day. I have enjoyed watching them cherish the rings and ponder memories of you. I still need to write her a thank-you.
Today I feel weak and unable to do anything. My brain doesn’t seem as foggy as it has been for the last two months, but self-motivation is at an all-time low. Last week at my appointment, the doctor reminded me of the importance of exercise. So, Daddy and I signed up for our usual spring half-marathon. I think this will be number 11 for me; I’m not sure. I started exercising on Monday this week, but here we are on Day 3 and it’s going to take some major motivation to get my rear out of this chair today.
I have lists, long lists of things that need to be done. But though I’ve finally arrived at a block of time to work on them, I can hardly get anything accomplished. I thought perhaps writing to you would ease the pain enough to move on with the to-do’s.
I’ve been grasping joy and sorrow in both hands together, but today the issue is strength. I literally have gone back to my own book for the reminder of how to keep putting one step in front of the other. Kind of funny that God had me write a book on that topic so I could circle back around to my own much-needed words. He taught me so much through your life. I love how he works.
My sweet friend, Gini, sent a package Saturday before last that impacted me greatly. One of the treasures it held was a simple plaque with the words, “Strong in the Lord.” There was no way she could know how much I needed those words right now. But God did. Yesterday I placed it in the kitchen window so that I see it often and reflect on it much.
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God so you can stand against the wiles of the devil… The enemy would like nothing more than for grief to render me totally helpless. He uses emotions to paralyze us and while healthy grief is necessary, I think grief is one of those emotions that can make us totally selfish.
I’ve watched grief and loss tear families apart instead of holding them tighter. I’ve seen individuals allow grief to soak into their souls to the point of allowing it to take over completely. I don’t want that. I know you don’t want that for me either. So, I continually pray and ask God to saturate my spirit with his. I quote scripture to myself. Yep, I do.
Part of what makes me ache are the practical tasks that all caregivers have to do after the death of a loved one. Earlier this week, I turned in guardianship paperwork to probate court for the official termination of your guardianship. It’s such a strange formality. As if your death stops my parenting or results in a discontinuation of care.
No, death doesn’t stop the parenting, because death doesn’t stop love. I will continue to love you with all my heart for eternity. God gave you to me and though heaven and earth currently separate us, one day they won’t.
The C-section scar on my body makes me smile now.
Because it’s a reminder of beautiful you.
Something that I once thought of as ugly is now a gift in grief.
I love you, my girl.