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Letters to Taylor
On Your Second Heavenly Birthday
My dearest Taylor,
Twenty-four years ago today, you kept me awake all night. Though still in the womb, you tossed and turned; I tossed and turned. And after hours of labor, you hadn’t budged. As I watched your monitor numbers dip, the nurse called for the doctor. 7 minutes. 7 minutes was all the time it took from the time I was in the hospital room staring at the monitor to the moment I stared at your little blue body. I can still feel the relief of hearing your first tiny cry.
And now here we are at your twenty-fourth birthday, galaxies apart, bodies separated by time and space, yet hearts knit fully together. I wonder how you are at your second heavenly birthday. I mean, you must be perfect. Your body, mind and spirit are whole. What a wonder of God’s creation you must be. I wish I could get just a glimpse of what you look like. I deeply crave your touch, your songs, your silly antics, but then I’m 100% sure that a glimpse would never satisfy.
For six months, I paused from writing to you. I suppose it was an experiment of sorts. Sorrow had consumed my soul to the point of needing to try to pause the process if that makes any sense. The journey through deep grief is long and hard. Truthfully, never-ending. I’ve said it before, but one of the most difficult parts of grieving is holding the grief of others and trying to balance your own grief with it. It’s like the worst juggling and balancing circus act combined. Balls continually dropping and lots of stumbling and falling.
For many years of your life, I would walk into the kitchen and look at your bedroom monitor. Just to see which of your siblings were cuddled up on the bed with you, or what food you were eating, or how you were doing. And though you’ve been gone to heaven for 21 months, and though we’ve moved from our beloved home of 18 years, and though there is no monitor to see you, I walked in the kitchen last week and found myself staring at the Echo show, fully expecting to see you there, my usual “check.” Though you are gone, my intuition and subconscious seek to serve you. My love for you searches for ways to show itself to you.
So when I stopped writing to you, I think you know what I did. I tried to pour my energy into ways of showing my love for you, by loving others. I took a part-time position working at a local church and gave them my time for many months during a strange pandemic season. I continue to love Daddy and the kids with as much exuberance as I can muster. I search for daily simple ways to love our neighbors. I share the faith lessons I am learning every day. I’ve plugged myself into serving others, alongside my dear friend, Carol.
One would think that with a pause in deep processing would come a reprieve of deep emotions. But I think the opposite occurs. The waves of grief do not subside eternally. There are times of calm and times of total storm. A wicked undercurrent drags you by surprise. Riptides leave you gasping for air. It has been 21 months of living on the sea of sorrow and I will never be in control of the boat. I’m beyond thankful I personally know the One who is.
I sit here on your twenty-fourth birthday, my sweet girl, and ache with the deepest longing for you. I often look at my surroundings and think, “Who are we and how did we get here?” because life has changed so much without you. I fear that the children will forget the lessons they so faithfully put into practice while you were living, the selflessness they were required to exhibit daily. But I also fear that the joy you brought to so many will die with you.
So this week, for your birthday week, we are going to do 24 acts of kindness. 24 things that make people smile, shake their heads and remember the world is a good place to live. 24 kindnesses to remind us that love conquers all and that God is good, even and especially in difficult times.
Happy birthday, my sweet girl. I hope you enjoy the show.
There are no words to say how much I miss you.
All my love,