Many people have encouraged me to write a book about our experiences over the last couple years. I've decided to start the process and see where it leads. Our little family has seen more than our fair share of challenges over the last 10 years or so. Maybe we've learned some things along the way that can help others. Maybe in telling the story we will find some resolution or purpose in what seems on the surface just to be a chaotic wake of tragedy. Maybe God can use this to bring good into someones life or bring them into a relationship with Him. If so, then it will be worth opening up my heart and risking a little. Wish me luck :)
Like most people we have had a really busy summer, and are living the classic mid west itinerary of packing as much as humanly possible into the few decent months of warm weather we get here. We've been to the zoo (one of the girls favorite places on earth!), gone to the beach, and done some camping in Grace's last gift to us. We've been working hard on Grace's garden and just have some finishing touches to put in (mulch & a campfire ring). It looks wonderful and we love spending time just hanging out there as a family. Last week Mae went to camp for the first time. I went with her and was the camp nurse for a few days. Thankfully no one got hurt too badly and I spent most of the time passing medications and patching up skinned knees, elbows and pulling out bee stingers. :) It was fun though. I got to meet a lot of sweet kids and it was such a cool opportunity to see Mae interact with other kids her age without being in her way.
Speaking of Mae, she started soccer practices this week. It's been bittersweet. It makes me ache for Grace. She loved playing soccer (although it was more for the love of her friends than the love of the sport), and I wish I could see her out there running and laughing and playing too. It's so amazing though to see Mae showing confidence, working on fitting in with friends and having fun. She is so excited to play, but I worry a little that she might feel she has to do things (like play soccer) just because Grace did. When getting ready for practice she wanted to wear Grace's soccer socks and her shoes and her soccer tee. I think she just looked up to Grace and is wanting to emulate her but I hope she feels like she is good enough just being the amazing kid SHE is, and not like she needs to try to fill Grace's empty shoes. Pray for this if you think of it. I know losing Grace is affecting the girls in ways we cannot see and I want them to be happy and filled up despite missing their sister. I know we will need extreme wisdom as parents to see the hurt they experience related to their own personal loss and know how to help each of them through it. It's a tall order, and I'm thankful we are not in it alone. Thanks for walking with us down this road.
Joe and I are getting though a day at a time. It's still ridiculously hard. If you know other families who have lost a child too soon, think about sending them a note or giving them some encouragement. This is a pain that is deep and wide and long suffering. They will need your love and understanding for a long time to come. An acquaintance asked me the other day, "So you got through it all OK then?" I was surprised at the visceral reaction I had to the question that was asked rather flippantly. NO! I am NOT through it... and I may never be OK again! I constantly have to filter what people say and see what they mean. I'm sure she wasn't try to be insensitive. How could she possibly know how it feels to experience such profound loss if she hasn't had to in her own personal experience? Maybe she assumed 7 months was enough time to recover and move on? It clearly is not. OK, sorry for the tangent. I'm still working on getting beyond words.