Wednesday, 28 May 2014

When Griefs Collide

This time of year is always hard. The visceral aspect of my memory reacts strongly to the smell and feel of late Spring, so while this is a time of leaving winter behind, of new beginnings and the anticipation of summer fun, it always carries an undercurrent of sorrow for me. Some days I wake up with the heaviness of holding Leah's precious body in my womb, while she struggled to grow even as the fluid required to sustain her slowly shut down her heart. I feel the weight of knowing we had such a short time to be with her, the despair born of helplessness from being in a situation I could neither fix nor control. It has been so long since Leah died, and life is so full that I don't deal with this often, but this time of year it inevitably surfaces.

Then my Mom died in the Spring. Now my griefs collide. The fresh, strong sorrow mingles with the old familiar quiet one. Mom's integral role in supporting Jeff and me through losing Leah makes those memories all the more poignant this year. I wish I could show you the picture I carry in my mind of my mom walking Leah's body to the hospital morgue. When we decided it was time to let her go, neither Jeff nor I were able to take her, but my mom insisted that she could. And she did. In the last memory I have of my daughter, she is cradled in my mother's fiercely protective arms. Mom walked out of that room with a determination and sense of purpose, I almost want to say she marched. She held her first grandchild so tenderly and proudly, and she would watch over her and care for her until the last possible moment. I have always treasured that, her strength in my weakness. My mom shone in impossible situations.

Mom had a way of knowing what to do when you were hurting, of knowing what to ask and how to meet your need. I think one of the hardest things of grieving my mom is doing it without her support. I really wish I could call her and complain about how much I miss her, and admit that she was right about how certain things would play out (she had become a fan of predicting how some thing would go after she was gone), and ask her how to explain all this to my littlest guys, who are still asking when she is coming back from heaven to visit. Sometimes you just need your mom. I need my mom this time of year, when I miss my daughter the most. Death is the worst, at least for those who are left behind. Like Leah, Mom's pain is gone. They have peace and freedom with Jesus, so I don't mourn for them, I mourn for me.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy-ish Mother's Day

Today was a mixed bag. Not only is it the first Mother's Day without my mom, but it is also one month from the day that she died. All in all, that makes for a pretty emotionally loaded day. The days leading up to today were noticeably harder for me. Grief exhaustion has officially set in as of Friday. Maybe with Mother's Day behind us it will be better next week (I can only hope). It probably didn't help matters that this week was "survivor week" at Tommy's school, you know the week when you desperately try to survive without giving the kids any screen time on any device. Even though we usually have very limited screen time, it was tough to make it without any at all (but we did!). Dinner making was much more chaotic than usual, so I will be very thankful to turn the TV back on tomorrow evening and cook in peace.

Back to today. I miss my mom. I hate not being able to call her and tell her what a great mom she was. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to tell her how much I appreciated her and to admit to her that parenting is A LOT harder than it looks. Having kids certainly has made me much more understanding of my mom's mistakes, and much more thankful for her sacrifices.

Today had lots of happy mixed in too. I had breakfast in bed (prepared by Jeff, precariously carried by the boys), and received many beautiful works of art from the kids, including one that was wrapped in home designed paper that featured a bleeding dog. Ah, boys. Honestly, I'm just glad the bleeding dog wasn't pooping too.

They also got me a year of education for a child in Uganda (if you were thinking maybe you wanted one of those too, go to and hook yourself up), dressed up nicely for church, let me nap in the afternoon, and left me alone so I could paint my toes. We had a nice dinner that I didn't cook, and spent the evening playing games. As you can see, that all adds up to a great day.

Some pictures, which include for those of you who have asked (I listen!) a picture of the front of our house. I wish the cars weren't in the driveway because then you could see the side planter with my daffodils, but Jeff was doing handy man things in the garage this weekend and needed the space I usually park in. I guess you can consider it a bonus shot of my sweet mom-ride.