Letters to Taylor: On Weeping
My sweetest Taylor,
I’ve barely begun to type the words to you and tears flow down my cheeks faster than I can wipe them away. I’ve avoided writing to you because it’s agonizing and it doesn’t feel like the gaping wound in my heart is healing. We’re just a few days away from seven months since you left us for heaven. It’s all still so strange. Life without you is very abnormal. Oh, we’re trying to live each day to the best of our abilities. But it’s just weird.
In some ways it seems like yesterday that you smiled at me and in others, it seems the time you’ve been gone has been so long and draining. Never-ending. I suppose because it is. Until heaven.
School began last week for your brothers and sisters. I cried myself to sleep the two nights before it started because I knew the volume of our precious daily time together was ending. Academics must return and so must the continuation of growth in all areas.
The house is so unusually quiet with the kiddos at school. It makes me think on occasion that I hear your cough or that I should change the movie or show for you or that it’s time to change you or feed you or any one of the other things I did to care for you for 22 years, 3 months, and 12 days. I don’t think the average person can understand how I feel unless they’ve cared for a loved one in a similar situation. The intense level of care you required has left me with a void. And it’s not that I don’t know how to feel the void of the time. Mercy, no. It’s that the void of the necessity cannot be replaced.
Summer has always been my favorite season and the water and sunshine have surely soothed my weary soul over the last few months. Does it seem crazy to grieve over the loss of summer? Seasonal change is inevitable. And yet, it seems tears surface at unfair times for every reason in the world and yet, no reason at all.
I have never been comfortable weeping. Some folks, I assume, embrace their tears and just let them freely flow. I’ve never been good at that. The surprise of the grief journey has been the emotional roller coaster of uncontrollable highs and lows.
It’s not that I’ve never grieved losses before. I cried buckets when Mom went to heaven. I wept when I discovered your birth father was having an affair. The night that I read your diagnosis and put all the clues of your disease together, I sobbed with my head down on the desk, feeling it shake underneath me.
I’ve wept because I miss you. I selfishly want you with me. To the deepest of my core being, I know you are no longer in pain, no longer suffering, perfectly whole, and enjoying the incredible wonders of heaven. But the beautiful thoughts of heaven and healing don’t completely stop the whirlwind of emotions. Each time they rise to the surface, my inclination is to stuff them down. To shoo them away like a pesky fly. But the logical side of me keeps thinking there must be a real reason for the tears. I’ve been grappling with the many opinions on the emotional and physiological effects of loss.
I’ve not spoken very much throughout this year and I’ve laid low vocally on social media. I told myself I was working on healing. That it was okay not to be in the limelight while travelling this dark valley with the shadow of death behind us. And that is true, except the deeper truth is that I have been angry. And not mad at God. Heavens, no. I love the Lord so much and can’t imagine my life without Him. But I’ve been mad at myself because I fear the judgment of others. I’ve feared that people will see me in public, crying for “no reason”, and they will not understand the depth of the hole in my heart.
I’ve allowed the tears to embarrass me and shame me many times since you’ve been gone. I don’t like to seem fragile in front of others. I don’t want people to be uncomfortable to be around me. The plain truth is that I’m totally comfortable around others who are crying, but not myself. I’ve allowed the enemy to use this to hold me back from what the Lord has called me to do.
Over the weekend, I experienced a lightbulb moment. Only it was more like streams of neon lights panning over the sky and zooming in on the words “Use the tears as a reminder to point to God.” My dear friend, Carol, whom you’ve never met, reminded me through her written words that in the moment of tears flowing, I do not have to be ashamed. Instead, I can choose to use those tears as a reminder that God holds the tears of his saints as precious. And one day, there will be a grand finale for tears. We’ll say goodbye to crying and sorrow and weeping FOREVER!
O my sweet girl. What a day that will be.
Until it comes, I’ll keep walking with the Lord the very best I know how. I’m guessing that made you smile.
All my love,