Letters to Taylor: On Grief

Letters to Taylor: On Grief

Sweet T,

It’s been a long day and we haven’t even reached the evening hours yet. I’ve only been home an hour and a half, but it took almost that entire time to do enough guesswork to make you comfortable again. And so now I sit here watching you sleep, hoping that the meds and liquids and repositioning and diaper change… that all those things are enough to keep you resting for at least an hour.

I haven’t wanted to write this letter to you, because I don’t want to read it aloud to you. I don’t want to read it aloud to you because I’m not sure if I can. I know; your mother has issues. I wish you could give me that perfect side glance you used to give many years ago, the one that said, “Isn’t my mom a trip?”

You know how our family has hosted a family gathering every year for children affected by your disease? Well, your buddy, Kent, is no longer in pain but walking with Jesus. Knowing him, I’m guessing he’s jumping with Jesus. When I read the news of his passing and then later that day, read the arrangements for his funeral, I knew I wanted to go see his wonderful family and make a feeble attempt to tell him a temporary goodbye.

After everyone in our family headed out to work and school this morning and your caregiver arrived, I drove north. Sparkling cornfields danced along the road and the farther north I drove, the more fallen snow shimmered across the plains. A lone hearse sat at the front of the church parking lot where I pulled in and as soon as I stepped out of the van, cold vapors blew into the air declaring the rigidity of the season.

The moments from the time I entered the church until I left the graveside felt so sacred and holy. A respect and awe for all God has done through one life filled the hallway and auditorium of the church. One can’t ask for much more on this earth than to be a life who is well-loved. The truth is, we are all well-loved by our Creator. We just don’t always realize it. Kent was blessed to have a family who yearned for nothing more than to show him love and care for his entire life.

But grief sat amid grace.

Upon seeing Kent’s mama and sisters whom I’ve known for years and years, tears slipped out and rolled down my cheeks. I hadn’t planned on crying. But I hadn’t planned on not crying either. There was no agenda on what to say or how to respond, just a longing to let this family know my heart hurts for them. Essentially, I just showed up.

I stood by his casket and jumbled thoughts flooded my mind. A wonderful slideshow played on the overhead screen while Kent’s family members said some words to me here and there. I began to understand his last weeks of life and final battle with disease. O my sweet girl, I don’t want that road for you. I grieved for Kent’s physical pain and suffering, I grieved for his parents in their watches by night, I grieved for his sisters in their loss and I grieved because I want you to be spared. There was so much I was feeling for you while I’m weeping for them that the grief left me confused and disoriented.

But then I noticed one of Kent’s sisters walk around and sit in the row behind me. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart to move beside her, so I did. I placed my arm around her. Her body shook with sobs. She placed her hand in my lap and her head on my shoulder. And we mourned. Really mourned.

I didn’t trust myself to try to speak and so I prayed in my spirit, “Jesus, comfort  your daughter.” I’d like to tell you that I was brave and bold and just sat there and hugged her while she received strength from me. But I’m not humanly capable of that. It’s all too overwhelming. We literally sobbed together. Physically holding her in her bereavement ushered in a peace from the Lord. I could think of nothing but “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

It was a hallowed opportunity to weep with my friend. Not from a distance, not standing beside her, but letting waves of grief wash over both of us without restraint, anguishing together that we might comfort one another with the comfort by which we are comforted. In the beauty of giving one another permission to ache freely, we also experienced the comfort of God. It was a moment I will never forget.

People process grief in all different ways and at different seasons and levels.  One of the most difficult issues in relationships is understanding that no one grieves the same way. Since the time of your diagnosis, I’ve mourned the skills you’ve been unable to retain and the experiences you’ve never been given. I’ve wished that you could still feed yourself with a spoon and in the next moment, wondered what it would be like if you had graduated from high school.

Last week, one of my friends had her first grandbaby. I wondered what it would be like if you were married and having children. I can’t even imagine. I think you’ve given me enough gray hair to be a grandma without that!

I know you won’t shed a tear over any of this letter because you don’t understand it, but I also know that you are a human spirit and grief must overwhelm you. Perhaps the hardest grief is that you are unable to express it. After today, I know that one of my roles in your life is simply to grieve for you and with you. Grief by itself is sheer agony. But grief coupled with grace is a gift.

Thank you for giving me that precious gift. One day, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. Because all those things will be passed away. I can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful it will be.

Our buddy, Kent, got a head start on us.

I’m so glad you rested while I wrote and read this letter.

I’ll go mop up my face.

Again.

I love you.

Mommy

Letters to Taylor: On Suffering

Letters to Taylor: On Heaven

Letters to Taylor: On Control

Letters to Taylor: On Expectations

Letters to Taylor: On Anger

Letters to Taylor: On Gratefulness

Letters to Taylor: On Dementia

 

 

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

16 Comments

  1. Your anointing is so deeply rooted in Jesus. I pray God keeps you forever now always.

  2. ❣️As I sit a read your beautiful writings to your daughter I saw Taylor as this beautiful ? that flutters around you as she listens to your heart… I sometimes wonder as she listens those connections of mom and daughter come into her hearing and then her spirit to flutter as she awaits her arrival to heaven.

    I pray for you as you release your daughter daily through words thoughts tears and the pain you must feel that the lords right hand upholds you as you wait for him to call her home. I can only imagine what you feel and that’s even hard because I’ve not walked it, but you bring such encouragement to your family friends .
    Taylor will live forever in heaven and her memory will live forever upon the earth …
    ?

  3. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through. 108 days ago I lost my eldest daughter Nicole. She was 24 and had just given birth to our second grandson. Until reading your letter I never thought about grief with Grace. At the time of her passing we were praying for my grandson who was in the NICU. Not once did any of us think we would have to raise him. Everyday is struggle, I plead with God daily. On Thursday my grandson will be 4 months and on Sunday the other will be 4 years old. We are heartbroken. Thank you for sharing. We are from Johannesburg, south Africa.

    1. OH Althea. Another lesson I’ve been learning is that grief is not something that can be compared. I can’t imagine your pain. Lifting you up in prayer right this moment.

  4. Darla Klein says:

    I want to thank you for your desire to share with us your love for the Lord which He has caused you to have through all the suffering which you have experienced. I am a mom of 12 kiddos, most of whom have special needs. Our family learned that we have a genetic metabolic disorder as well and have fought through many difficult years with our now 18 yr old. She was paralyzed on her entire right side from a stroke at 2 yrs of age and then at three was found to have 4 major artery narrowings within her brain. God has been gracious to allow her to continue on here on earth and we are blessed with each and every day with her. We also have children with hydrocephalus, quadriplegia, Di George Syndrome, autism (3 kiddos), Mitochondrial Disorder & Familial Hemiplegic Migraine, and some major mental health related issues. This life has definitely not been what I had planned nor expected, and yet, God continues to provide the strength and ability to continue trudging along daily and I try to accept His sovereignty with joy; not an easy thing to do some days. Anyway, thank you for your encouragement through the Word of God and through your sharing honestly what it is like to be a mom to a child with significant special needs. Hugs

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart not only with Taylor but with us also. God sees your heart and your pain. May our wonderful Father in Heaven hold you like you held Kent’s sister. I am so blessed to be able to hear your story.

  6. Thank you for sharing your letters to your precious daughter. I’m praying for your family as you move through this season. Glory be to God who is with you and Taylor.

  7. Lincy Midhun says:

    For the first time am writing a response to mails that I have subscribed…..a presence of Holy Spirit has led me to do this now ..Your letters are very heart touching.. helping us to know and realize that God always comforts us no matter what. Personally It gives me strength whenever I read your letters and sometimes very apt to what I am going through. Rachel you are just amazing. And I Thank God . All my love prayers to your family and mostly to your most precious Taylor. With love…

  8. Thank you so much for what you give. You give words to the sorrow and pain our soul feels. I lost my younger sister July of this year and now my oldest sister is only here by the grace of God as she is in end stage of lung cancer. The possibility of losing both my sisters in less than a year is so totally overwhelming that words could not express. Your statement “Grief by itself is sheer agony. But grief coupled with grace is a gift” soared in my heart. Thank you. May God so bless you and your beautuful daughter as you continue your journey and know that both of you are so blessing others, words fail.

  9. Jan McMullen says:

    I am grieving right along with you , since I lost my husband this past May. But for a child that really doesn’t realize what is going on around her. That is hard to try and be a mom to her. With the grace of God , He is giving you the strength to take care of her and to grieve at the same time . Only God can help us and do both of it through us. God is our lifesaver in whom we can reach out to. You and your family are in my prayers.

  10. Thank you. Between all of this, you still find time to share with us. And I can’t even fathom what you are feeling. I want so badly to be there with you. But God … He is and He is wiping away your tears.

  11. So sorry for what you are going through. It is a blessing to read your letters to your daughter. Grief is so personal. I lost my oldest child, Tara, in 2013. She was twenty-eight. It has been a tough, long journey. God has walked every painful step with us. We know she is with Jesus and isn’t suffering anymore. We look forward to that great homecoming when we will see her again. God bless you and your family. You are very special.

  12. Shari Wrigley says:

    I know that it must be so hard to write these letters, however you will never know how much they will help other people.
    Truly , God is the one who gets us from one moment to the next one, thank goodness we have Him to hold onto .
    I lost my husband of 49 yrs. and 8 months one year, the exactly one year later on that anniversary , my daughter passed away. I can tell you that the Lord can bring joy and peace among our grief , and tears, and everything else we go through at these times.
    I can’t express enough how much I so admire and appreciate your courage and your strength and I also know the Lord is providing all of that for you and your family.

    Please know that Taylor and all of your family are in my prayers and I know the Lord is going to bring you all through this!

    All of my love and prayers !❤️?❤️

    1. Beautiful and very touching… thank you for your response…

  13. My heart hurts for you. This is so breathtakingly beautiful. Praying for His peace to surround you and your precious Girl❤️

Comments are closed.