It has been two years.
Two years ago, on March 5th, we said hello and goodbye.
It has been a tough month. The anticipation was just as dreadful last year. The seemingly dreary day approached slowly. This year, we felt a heaviness swarm in around my wife and I. The air was thick — almost suffocating.
Human beings have a natural built in behavior when it comes to pain. When we begin to feel it, we pull away, avoid and try to distance ourselves from the source. No one lets their hand remain on a hot pan. No one purposely hits their hand with a hammer. No one aims a foot for the edge of the coffee table. No one wants to stand over an empty hole in a ground at a cemetery. We spend our entire existence trying to avoid pain.
Therein lies the trouble with pain. It doesn’t avoid you.
A new motto my wife and I have claimed is for God to ‘heal the pain but leave the scar’. The prayer is that He continues to help us with the hurt, but also reminds of us of what we have been able to get through each time we trace over the wound.
At this point, I want the pain, the scar and everything else related to it, erased from my memory.
I don’t usually write in such gray colors, but to be perfectly honest, my heart is heavy. My goals won’t change. Our desire isn’t rattled. Moving forward is still our only option, but I feel the deep heaviness of losing her as if it was just yesterday.
I’m leaning into the pain.
I miss her.
Another year. Another birthday.
Once again, we drove up to headstone in the aptly named ‘Baby Land’. We tried to get a few pictures and fought time as the sun began to set a little too quickly. The wind tossed the balloons with little regard. A frustrating reminder and metaphor of how our lives had been tossed about since we lost her.
Our children sniffled and held back tears as the Sharpie markers shook while they tried to write a message to the sister they never met. Their words were powerful and deep. I imagined they had every expectation that Bella would be reading them. I joined them in that fantasy.
Open hands released the strings that held the heart-felt words and the balloons dashed across the clear evening sky. They tracked one another, following in a semi-circle, floating together. The round ‘Happy Birthday’ Balloon bounced just a little behind the others.
The night sky slowly swallowed them up. I felt it take me as well.
Quick blinks to attempt to adjust our eyes only made way for the tears that had been held back all day as they finally made their appearance. Huddled back at the location that we lowered her into the ground, we let the tears fall freely.
Is this what March 5th will always look like for us?