Letters to Taylor: On Lingering

Letters to Taylor: On Lingering

My girl,

This morning I woke suddenly with thoughts that I heard you stirring in your room. All the 22 years of mornings before you stopped breathing felt normal again for a split second. Then the reality of the pain surged forward, and I remembered. No, I didn’t physically hear you. That’s no longer possible.

Life without you on earth is moving on and it’s weird. Most people are beyond our family’s loss of you and at this point, many friends have stopped checking in. I’ve realized that whenever someone experiences a hardship or loss of a loved one, people stop talking about it for different reasons. It doesn’t mean that they no longer care.  

Sometimes they just don’t know what to say. Sometimes they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Sometimes they are afraid that saying something won’t be necessarily wrong, but it will resurface the pain. They don’t want to cause more pain because of their love. Honestly, I am understanding the value of being more and more. Remember how I told you that you were the easiest person in the world to simply be with? I really want to be that person for others. Just exist in kindred spirit without expectations.  You continue to inspire me every day and always will.

I haven’t been visiting the cemetery as frequently as I did right after you graduated to heaven. Sometimes I feel guilty for not going every day and then I remind myself that you aren’t there. Yes, I want to take care of your burial place, but the continual urge to straighten the temporary marker could become obsessive if I don’t keep myself in check.

When I go and visit your grave, I wish the ground wasn’t a muddy mess so I could just lie down on it and look up into the heavens. I’ve promised myself to do this as soon as I can place a blanket on the ground without mud soaking through. I believe that your view of God is so personal and beautiful right now and I’m wishing my vision was strong enough to see Him the same way.

I know the desire to care for the grave stems from caring for you meticulously for so many years. The permanent memorial stone is ordered, but the foundation can’t be poured until spring when the ground thaws. It’s odd to think that it will make me feel a little better when the stone is placed. It’s not because it’s a note of finality or closure, but I view it as honoring your precious life on earth.

Day before yesterday, I started cleaning out your closet. I’ve shed mostly happy tears from the beautiful memories, but I’ll be honest, a few times I found myself angry. I prayed and prayed some more. The sweet graduation bear from  your preschool graduation. Your bath towel that Grandma and Grandpa gifted one Christmas. The stuffed animal that wears a shirt with a photo of us riding the roller coaster, care-free in the moment.

The list goes on and on. Uncertainty filled my heart as I tried to figure out what to do with all the things. Do we keep it? Give it to someone in need? Could a family member use it, or will they want it? So many decisions for one closet.

Having your sisters to help me sort through things is a huge blessing. But the process takes a toll on them as well. At bedtime on the night we started working on the closet, little Tessa declared before she laid down in the bed, “I’m sleeping with Taylor’s blanket, her pajamas, her bear, and her pillow.” I couldn’t prevent the tears from slipping out. It’s her 7-year-old way of feeling close to you. We are all finding ways to continue feeling close to you, and yet time marches on.

Today I’m asking the Lord to keep my memories fresh. I don’t want our home to be an imbalanced shrine to your past, but an unmistakable tribute of your impact. As we look to the future, I’m praying that the Lord will show us how to continue living for His glory with you in our hearts.  

I sense the Spirit of the Lord lingering on me and I long to share His words of strength and encouragement with others. I just don’t know how people survive the valley of the shadow of death without our Savior.

Give Him a kiss for me.

I love you.

Your Mommy

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    18 Comments

    1. Rachel…loss is always loss and oicking up the pieces means there will always be a missing one.God has given u strength and He is here.You inspire and encourage.I lost both my parents and my mother was almost a year ago.memories will remain always.I always remember my dads privkly bearf and his tobacco breath and his bigg near hug.I closemy eyes and O actully feel it although he died 16 years ago.I remember my mums big warm hand holing mine before she gave me a hug. and itsbeen a year.memories will stay fresh..you have been blessed.

    2. God bless you, she knows your heart, God knows your heart, my mother been dead fifteen years, but I still call out her name every day, and I believe she hears me, so I know your daughter hears you, God bless you and your family,

    3. Jack Willer says:

      Keep on writing your deepest thoughts and feelings, even though many people (including myself) will not be able to relate at this time. Those who are able, obviously get a great deal of comfort from your honest and well chosen words.

    4. Your words today almost leave me speechless. Please linger as long as you need to. Please keep sharing your heart. Your courage is inspirational. Your journey through the hard times, through her last days, through her death – all offer encouragement, inspire hope.
      Your gift of words, of faith, are such a gift.
      Praying for all of you as you move into new days, new routines. with ever-growing faith and love.

    5. Kimberly Bacigalupi says:

      I too lost an angel. She was 19, just starting a life that was so full of promise. We lost her in an instant in a car accident in September of 2014. Life has changed so drastically since that day. The pain will never leave, but it does become a part of the new you that will eventually actually bring a sense of comfort, because it is a reminder that part of her still lives within you. To others your loss will just become just a part of your past, to you it is always a huge part of the present, even though days, months even years pass. I have cried through your posts, with you, because I know your pain and I know your path, but I also know that Taylor is with God, just as Courtney is, and some days I think perhaps they will find each other and share stories of their moms! My faith has grown in ways I never would have thought possible since the accident, and in it I find the strength to get through each day knowing that one day, I will finally understand. When I see His face, and hold her again, I will finally understand why and the purpose will be clear. Until then we find comfort in those that understand our pain, our grief and our daily struggles, and when that doesn’t work, we allow the grief to consume us for long enough to regain the energy needed to move forward. You are not alone, God really does have purpose, and our beautiful daughters are with him now doing exactly what they were both created to do, and we were both incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to be their guardians until it was time for him to call them home. Hang in there, it never gets easy, but it does get easier. Much Love!

    6. Ohhh, Sweet Rachel. How beautiful. My heart aches for you. Thank you so much for being courageous enough to share this journey with us. ??❤️

    7. Rachel
      These times are hard to share words with ones who have lost.. I work in a nursing home and I see feel hear and taste death a lot. I’m the receptionist but I’m a care giver to the families that have loved ones who live there on the Dementia unit Long turn unit and rehab unit .. I have never lost a child and words are hard to find to share other than I’m deeply sorry. But you impact of loving and caring for Taylor touched my heart and your family of the true reflection of Christ love for one another . Your an amazing woman of God and your children are blessed beyond to have you as their mother to care love and nuture them.
      May the days ahead be your road of healing as you continue to venture out and use this testimony of you and Taylor to touch many who need someone to bring healing and hope and understanding of the goodness of God.
      Blessings
      Patty

    8. Annette romine says:

      Rachel thank you so much for sharing. I pray for you and your family I have the purple ribbon on my cost from Taylor’s showing I think of her and your family every day.

    9. I love all your letters to Taylor. I don’t know the kind of sadness & loss you experience. Yes my daddy passed away unexpectedly last year, Good Friday. Yes I was born on his birthday. I don’t think I was nearly as close to him as you were with your Taylor. Your writings will help many, if not already. I think I want them to help me. Even though your grief and mine is somewhat different. I encourage you to publish “Letters to Taylor”. Thank you for sharing your heart with the world. I appreciate you and your heart. I wish I lived next door to you. I think I could really like getting to know you. God bless you.

    10. I wanted to let you know I love reading your letters. Not only for me, but I know they are also helping you grieve the loss of your dear Taylor. <3 Keep them coming as long as you need them to!

    11. Nor do I, Rachel. Nor do I.
      Praying with you and knowing He will show you and give you the words at the right time. Until then, keep looking up! Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
      Sending hugs.

    12. My 34 year old niece Rachel suddenly left us 3 years ago from sepsis. Her 3 boys and the rest of us were totally unprepared. My sister Debra, Rachel’s mother, and I have commented so often over the past three years about trust and faith and how it has been our lifeline. We also don’t know how anyone without God or faith can survive a loss such as Rachel or in your case Taylor.

      Keep writing to letters to Taylor. They are beautiful. Thanks

      Rachel

    13. My niece died from pancreatic cancer 3 yrs ago, leaving 3 children, her husband and my sister and bro-in-law (her mom and dad). Even though I know she’s in heaven and not in any pain and even though I love the Lord, I still get angry sometimes that’s she’s gone. I trust my God and I know we’re not able to understand why things happen, I have to remind myself that He is God and I’m not?❤️❤️I’m renewed by your words, your strength and your obvious love of God❤️

    14. Beautiful. My heart aches for you. I have 2 of kids with progressive disease. We aren’t near where your daughter was but we know the future could hold a similar path. I cry tears of grief for what Satan steals from us from our families and especially our babies. Only Jesus

    15. Bridgette Riggin says:

      Each of your letters are so personal and raw and I feel what you feel. As a mama myself my heart aches for you. Grieving goes through many phases. Two months. Two years. Twenty years. The pain may dull but missing your sweet girl is a natural thing. You should never feel guilty or maybe like you haven’t moved on fast enough. You do you! Your family loved Taylor as none of us could have so we have no right telling you enough time has passed. She is part of your heart! God bless you and your sweet family and all of the grieving and the healing that you have yet to do.

    16. Me too, when I visit the cemetery so many times I stare up at the sky and wonder if you can see me. I look for you amongst the clouds and pray to God that you are in his safe keeping. I have found people’s reactions very difficult and never could understand how people would shy away but I guess your right Rachel so thank you for sharing. Sending my love to you on this difficult journey.

    17. Thank you so much for sharing the roller coaster picture I love seeing her smile I too did that after my husband passed I would just lay beside his grave and talk to him and look up at the sky it actually makes you feel good. I too went through Times of happiness and tears and Filling badd about not going to the cemetery all the time and anger you’re definitely going through the grief process. I wish I lived closer so I could come over to just talks you so you know that you’re not alone.. sending love and prayers

    18. Absolutely beautiful. I find your letters to Taylor so inspiring. Thank you.

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