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.