Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
Today, my daughter should be turning 7, and this week we should be sending her off to second grade.
I can so vividly remember what it was to be 7. I can see the face of my second-grade teacher. I can remember what it felt like to walk into a new school in a new town.
I know the names of the friends I made when I was 7. Some of them have remained my closest friends to this day.
My life since age 7 has been complicated.
It’s been tragic and beautiful and blessed.
Her life since age 7 is one that will only exist in my imagination. I will spend the rest of my life trying to picture it.
Each year that passes without her becomes in some ways more “normal.” Our scars and wounds thicken. The chronic nature of our grief becomes more muted. We focus our attention on all that we have, rather than our sorrows.
We work through the exhaustion that losing a child embeds deep within your soul, to recognize all of the joys that we’ve been blessed with.
We attempt to parent her in a way that honors her memory, by celebrating her spirit, and embracing the love that we feel for her. We mention her in casual conversation, and include her when people ask how many kids we have.
And each year, as the anniversaries of her birth and death approach, we tell ourselves this is it.
This is the year…
This is the year that grief season won’t punch us in the gut.
This is the year that we won’t wake at night remembering.
This is the year that we will once again learn to love autumn.
This is the year…
And then something as simple as knowing that you can imagine yourself at the age that your child never got a chance to be leaves you to wonder, all over again, why?