Letters to Taylor: On Grief’s Learning Curve

Letters to Taylor:

On Grief’s Learning Curve

My dear Taylor,

With everything in me, I am longing for you to slip your hand into mine as you did so often in the last couple years of your life. It was my sign that you longed for my comfort and without words, I knew your spirit was alive.

I have procrastinated in writing to you because the pain is so deep. Eleven months have passed since you left us for heaven and yet in many ways, it feels like yesterday. As soon as I sit down in the chair and posture myself to type, the tears begin to fall down my cheeks and deep sobs swell in my abdomen. I write because I know that it is better to acknowledge the pain than to bury it. Yet choosing the appropriate time to tangibly share with you requires a strategy.

I am incapable of expressing how much I miss you and it feels suffocating at times. Yet God is still giving me breath. For that reason alone, I know He has a purpose and a plan for my life. I wish you could tell me what it’s like to curl up on Jesus’ lap and listen to his heartbeat. That’s what I long for each day in my quiet time, but this human shell that holds my spirit is limited.  However, even in my limitations, I sense God is near and He gives me glimpses of His glory and power throughout the day, of which I’m in awe.

Our family has officially moved from the home you knew on this earth for 18 years. Daddy and I managed to hold ourselves together in front of your siblings when we left the house together as a family for the last time. But when the two of us returned a bit later for the final walkthrough, we stood at the front door together and wept with our arms wrapped around one another. It’s amazing how attached we can become to four walls. Our minds are so limited to think that the four walls are what contain our memories. Our hearts and minds hold the memories. We take them with us everywhere. But it was certainly a precious physical habitat for so long.

 As I reflect over the last few weeks, my heart is happy with our decision to move for many reasons. Although our previous space was less than ideal for years, I’m so glad that we chose to learn how to use what we had and make things work. I’m glad that we never tried to live above our means. I’m glad that we didn’t try to move while you were living; it would have been brutal for you. So much of your comfort was in familiarity and routines.  Moving is such a major event. I had forgotten how topsy-turvy life gets during location transitions. It has taken longer to begin to feel settled than I thought it would, but five weeks later, we are getting there.

Speaking of settling in, I have been pondering what it was like for you to welcome your sweet friend, Ava, to heaven last week. As I drove the two hours across state to hug her family at the funeral home, my heart grew so heavy for them. I vividly remember standing where they were standing, beside the casket holding their precious little girl, flooded with the emotions of beginning to say goodbye.

Yesterday I drove to my West Virginia hometown for the funeral of Ray Kinser. He and his wife are two of my favorite people in the world. I’ve been wondering if you’ve met him yet. He can tell you a few stories about how his daughter and I did everything together from school to church to mommy’s first job working for him at Dairy Queen. It was 4.5 hours of driving each way to attend the funeral and I suppose some would say it wasn’t worth it. But even if all I can offer is a hug to a dear grieving friend, I believe a single hug can express more than a thousand words when given in the right spirit. Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. It’s really the love of Christ.

 I recently read that grief is simply love with no place to go. As I’ve reflected on that statement, I’ve been prompted to find ways to channel my love for you. It’s not as if the love doesn’t exist because you are in heaven. My love for you is so strong that I feel certain it only continues to grow, even in your physical absence.

I suppose one could say that for the last year, I’ve been on the learning curve of grief. That I’ve been learning how to redirect my love for you so that it can continue to blossom and flourish. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to experience grief. Mercy, this week of attending two funerals and watching little baby Greyson struggle has weighed on me.

But love doesn’t have to live in limbo. God must have an incredible plan for the exponential amount of love He gave me for you. I’m eagerly watching for his plan to unfold.

Until His love brings us together again forever,

I love you.

Your Mommy

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you again Rachel for such profound words. I have lost two children in the past two years and am now reading your book One More Step. I can’t express how much it is helping me to know God has a plan for me to use what I’ve gone through to show God’s love all those that I encounter. May God bless and keep you and your family , at this time dealing with your first Christmas without your precious daughter, Taylor.

  2. Joeann Mueller says:

    Thank you Rachel. I so appreciate you sharing. I have tears reading your letter to your Daughter. I’ve lost my husband, now 8 years ago, every loss is different as is grief. I awaken each day with prayers of gratitude and each morning, tears. This many years later and I still cry. I try to be what God wants me to be. I’m not as sure as most what that is. Kindness & hugs & love to all especially those in need.
    Continue to share you’re grief journey.
    Peace, Love & Joy be yours ❤️
    God Bless,
    Joeann Mueller.

  3. Rachel, these letters to Taylor have been a blessing to me! My family is going through a crisis due to upcoming divorce in my son’s family. I have grieved as though it has been a death. My heart is so broken for my son and his wife and their 3 & 5 year old boys. I have read your letters and gained encouragement and strength from them. May God continue to give you the grace, courage and wisdom to continue sharing His love with others! Merry Christmas to you and your family! So thankful that our circumstances does not have to overshadow the Joy, Peace and Hope that is ours for the taking during this amazing time of year.

    Blessings in Jesus name!

  4. Karen M. Roth says:

    My heart is always thinking of your family, even more in times of holidays as that is when it hits the hardest. Lord knows I am still grieving the loss of the abandoned upstairs neighbor toddler that was forced to starve to death because I could not get my own mother to listen to me and on the poor communication channel between my mother and another lady that were supposed to be keeping an eye on him and feeding him. She had to rush to care for her own grown daughter who had a rare blood disease that after a decade had claimed her own life. I was only six then, I am soon to be 48. That was way before the authorities were allowed to step in and rescue such a child. Trust me I still see his she cherub face every night I close my eyes to go to sleep.
    __
    I have another friend whose stepdaughter was killed in a car wreck while the other stepdaughter survived. I only share these two incidents to show that Grief never goes away, it just changes how it shows up in the everyday routines, and comings and agoing about in each of our lives.

    The important thing to do as we have already been told by our Gracious heavenly Father is to take any such Comfort that we have received and to give it to other folks who are in the place where we also once stood. This is why Lord willing, I am going to start a new Charity Project called, “Tobias’ Wings of Love” to remember Angel Babies. I had a miscarriage in between the two beautiful precious children I had had and I was never allowed to name him so after a very painful 20 + years after a time spent with God I gave my precious little man his name- Tobias Nathaniel Jones. I remember wanting to scream at the cold-hearted nurse who had waited on me when I had fallen in hopes of trying to save Tobias. She had no feelings, no kindness, no compassion, and certainly no love when she flatly stated just as starkly frozen as the angry look on her face when I tried to reiterate that I was at least three months along, ” Well if you were pregnant, you certainly are not now.”
    __
    That comment will forever be etched in the very depths of my aching soul.
    __
    I know just how deep the pervading darkness can creep into one’s soul even for a Christian….even darker for one who has never known God or the great love that Jesus has for each of us. One cannot put a time limit on Grief, but the one thing we must all do is learn to let them go and without turning to be obsessive. That is a tough one that I, myself am still learning to do. Even while knowing that my little one, Tobias and the sweet cherub Andrew Mayfield, would want me to learn to enjoy life and to once again learn to smile and laugh. The one verse that has helped me through it all is the shortest yet most powerful and comforting verse in the entire Bible for me, ” Jesus Wept”. Tears are not a sign of weakness, but rather the strongest form of strength, courage, and bravery that has ever been known. To remain soft in a world that would have us turn cold, cynical and harsh.
    __
    I am keeping you all the closer in my Prayers for you and your sweet family {{{{hugz}}} <3

  5. That letter really hit home. I lost my mom November 25 last year. She found out in the 13th she had small cell lung cancer. We lost her in 12 days. There are days I blame myself that I couldn’t do more. So yes this letter really really really hit home.

    Lindsey Searby

  6. Sharon K Muhs says:

    Dear Rachel,
    I appreciate your openness in sharing your pain and grief with me and others. You have been such a blessing to me throughout my own grieving and loss. My heart breaks for you and your family, losing a beloved daughter/sister like sweet Taylor. Thank you, for your ministry. I will continue to pray for you and your dear family.
    Love in Jesus!

  7. Rachel,
    Thank you for sharing this precious love letter. I am blessed to have one daughter and I can’t imagine losing her.
    I have only been following you for several years. My circumstances are different. I have battled cancer this last year and have received news I’m in remission. God has blessed me. However, though different circumstances, reading your writings were encouraging to me. Many times.
    May God continue to bless you and your family. And I look forward to meeting your Taylor one day.
    I will keep you in my prayers.❤️

  8. Mary Ann Miller says:

    My Prayers are with You, Rachel. My Mother passed away when I was weeks old and I never knew her. My God-Mother told me all about her when I got older and gave me some pictures of her, so that I could see what she looked like. When I look at the pictures I often wonder what kind of Mother she would have been, because I had a brother who was 15 years older than me and He went to heaven to join Her when he was only 30. Even tho I didn’t know her, I know she is my Guardian Angel and I Love Her.

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