Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beyond Tears

Grief is a powerful thing. I'm not a crier, but I'm telling you I can't shut it down lately. I don't feel clinically depressed... maybe I'm just softer somehow. Seeing Grace's pictures on the wall or her clothes on her sister, the smell of grilled cheese sandwiches, or hearing her sisters casually mention her name. Tears fall as fast as they form. Joy answers her own question when she sees us cry now. "What's wrong, Mommy/Daddy?" is always quickly followed by, "You miss Grace , Mom/Dad?". I'm tired of hurting. I wish I could wish it away. To be happy for Grace's adventure in heaven and move on from the constant ache for her. But I'm her mom, and I know I will never really feel complete again without her here. I don't want to be a debbie downer, it's hard to hang out with people who hurt, but in this blog I've committed to being real... and it really hurts. Most people are moving on to new things, the lessons Grace taught taken to heart but when she wasn't part of peoples every day it's easier to move forward. I hope reading about our journey through tears you can help other families who have lost someone close to them. Healing doesn't happen in weeks, or months... it takes years (based on my experience of loosing my best friend 7 years ago). Complete healing takes a lifetime...

Grace's birthday is this week on the 18th. We've been talking for months about what to do for that day. I still don't know for sure what the day will look like. The girls expect a cake, but it feels weird to celebrate. They assured me they can blow out her candles for her. Do we put 10 candles on a cake? Is she 10? I don't know how aging works in heaven. With eternal bodies, will anyone keep track of the passing of another year? I mean to us she will always be 9 years old. Maybe we put a 10 on the cake and light 1 candle. Remembering her earthly age while celebrating her first year in heaven. I'm likely over analizing this, but I keep thinking if I can figure it out I'll know what to do. I'm thinking we may throw a pizza party for the oncology floor at Children's that day. It was always one of Grace's favorite things to take part in while we were "in"... and the child life specialist always commented that we had to have a party whenever Grace was there. Paying it forward would feel good. The weather is supposed to be warmer here, so maybe we can release balloons at her grave site that day. It was too cold in December to do that and I think the kids would think it was cool. We will also be at school that evening for an Art & Academic Fair that Mae is taking part in. Guess what she's making? Big shocker... a big paper mache rainbow. (She makes them EVERYDAY. It's part of her grieving process I think. Her way of keeping Grace close to her. The picture on this post is one she drew for Grace during her last days here on earth.) It also seems a fitting way to spend our day, looking at Mae's rainbow in the sea of other projects done by Mae & Grace's many friends. OK, so maybe we do have our day planned after all.

I fear a year from now getting beyond tears will still be incredibly hard. Lately I really want to pull the covers over my head and not come out until my heart feels better. Since that isn't an option I will resign myself to tears for now and continue to seek the joy in life Grace so easily found. I do find it for periods of time. Mae & Joy keep us laughing. They constantly remind us we have to keep moving forward as much as we keep looking back. They help us focus beyond tears for a time... thank you, God, for the gift of our girls.


  1. Hugs to you all during this challenging week.

  2. All three of your girls are so precious and amazing. I love knowing about Mae's many drawings. So sorry for your pain. It will last and it will hurt, but we will be here. You're not by yourself. Sending love.

  3. Thank your for being vulnerable and sharing your heart. It is a gift. Love you through it all.

  4. I think that acknowledging & celebrating Grace's life is important for everyone in your family...especially her sisters. It continues to send the message that it is ALWAYS okay to talk about her & remember her life here with us. If you can bring your self to do it, it seems like it would be important to be able to celebrate the day she went to dance with Jesus. It lets them know we grieve for us missing her here, but celebrate that she is healed and alive with Christ. It is the hope part. I know that annually the two worst days in my house growing up were the anniversary of my mom's death and her bday. Everyone clammed up and it was always a tense day (let's throw three worst days...Mother's Day). My friend who has lost her husband to a tragic accident, tries to find occasions to celebrate his life with her kids. It usually calls for a special outing, or a cake or a special dinner. I am thankful you have your girls pushing the two of you forward each day. I love the playroom idea that you made in Grace's room. I think that was an awesome idea!

  5. It may be hard to hang out with the hurting, but the truth is, we are ALL hurting about something. And those of us who knew Grace, even indirectly, still feel her absence. We think of her fondly, forget she's not here, and we ache for her amazing presence. We understand that this is not a fast or easy process.

    I think it's great that you're celebrating Grace's birthday. The number of candles is whatever feels right to you guys!

    I love Mae's rainbows! That's beautiful. You're so blessed to have such brilliant daughters.

    Know that I'm thinking of you all and praying you through this week!

    Happy birthday, Amazing Grace! <3

  6. Be real... show vulnerabilities... I would expect nothing less... and when it overflows, I'll catch it... if you let me.

    Each person grieves in their own way. Yours is not wrong and neither are your questions or thoughts or wishes either.

    The very hardest part is when the calendar keeps flipping from day to day... we are all guilty of letting time fly too fast with few words. Time does go on. Unfortunately. With that time that goes on, I want to let you know one thing for certain... each day that passes... at least for me... are still filled with the things Malia taught me. Her words, her chicken dance, her smile, her solitary peace, her menu selections, each and every piece of her still remains a part of my day. I think of her often and still say her name out loud... believing that if I do, she'll jump out from behind a corner and say, "Gotcha!"

    I'm wishing to my dear cousin. And, my love keeps alive with thoughts of you all.

    Wish I could change this for you. Miss you tons, love you more...


  7. In my own experience with grief or loss, you never get over it you only get through it. This has helped me stay true to my feelings of pain, regrets, and my essential faith to hold on in the darkest hour.