"I am reminded of you at sunrise and sunset
and a thousand other moments in between."
and a thousand other moments in between."
Most schools are starting this week...that means little ones are starting pre-school and kindergarten, middle school, high-school, and even college.
My heart is heavy as I take in yet another milestone I will never experience with my first-born. I plan on homeschooling my children, so Lily would have never "gone off" to school on the bus or anything like that. But, she would have learned and I would have loved getting her school books and supplies and teaching her from a Biblical worldview. I like to imagine how excited she might have gotten to get pretty pink notebooks with Hello Kitty on them. Of course that would be down the road from now. These days, she would probably be singing her ABC's and I imagine I'd clap when she finished and say, "Good job, Lily! I'm so proud of my smart girl." She'd smile up at me and I'd smile down at her, my chubby-cheeked girl.
In the next couple years, I may have sent her to pre-school to have the opportunity to be with other kiddos. I'd definitely want her around children, learning to play and share. A dear friend of mine recently posted a photo on facebook of her daughter's first day of 3-year-old-pre-school. She was standing by the door with her backpack on and had a huge-open-mouth grin on her face. Upon seeing it, I just about lost my breath. I couldn't bare to click "like." I just couldn't. I hadn't even thought of Lily's school days yet. I love this little cutie and her mama, but it's still so hard to see things like this. I like to imagine if Lily were here, she and this girl would be the best of friends. Those posts should be my posts...
I read a quote somewhere that says something along the lines of when you lose a child, they die a thousand times a day. Not only did Lily die on March 16, 2010...but in all those little moments that stack on top of each other that take my breath away...when I realize all that could have, should have been...but will never be...
Every day, I lose another piece of her and another dream I had for her life. All the fun things we'd do together. It's like not only do I grieve the loss of her life, but specifically all the things her life would have held. First words, steps, school, sleepovers, teaching her about Jesus, going to her wedding, being there for her babies...all the precious moments I will never know with her, all the milestones she will never hit, all the things she won't do, all the ages she will never grow into. She will never outgrow her clothes and shoes and need new ones...she barely even got to use the outfits she had, only ever wearing two. As everyone else's children grow up, mine is forever a babe...so many sweet kiddos born around the same time as Lily are growing so much. Some even have younger siblings now, which seems so strange.
I cling to the truth that though Lily is not here on earth with me to love and be there for all those special moments, Jesus is with her. There's no place else I'd rather she be. He takes such good care of her and I can picture them smiling at each other through all those precious moments (like in the picture below that makes me fall apart)...as he teaches her things and rocks her. She must smile so big when He tells her how her mama loves her and will be there with her one day very soon...to the thought of that, she must nestle into his strong arms and fall fast asleep, fully trusting in His love...just as I'm to do...
Today, I read this beautifully written post on Still Standing Online Magazine that shows that those who lose a child never "get over it." Every year, the grief changes as you realize something else you are missing. This mama writes about the five-year mark, two and a half years more than where I am in my grief journey. Reading it makes me feel not so alone in my thoughts. It's nice to have a glimpse into what the coming years might bring. I find myself wondering how different things will feel as the years march on.
If you are reading this and have lost a baby, know that it's okay to miss that baby forever, because a mother's love is forever...don't ever be made to feel that there is something wrong with you for not being "over it." You can go on in life and laugh and find joy, but that lost little one's absence will never be far from your heart...and for those who know someone who has lost a baby, please be gentle on them. This loss has irrevocably changed them forever.
"I wonder if there should be a manual for parents who lost about the later years, when the world expects you to be over it. Has anyone written about the unexpected landmines of the first day of kindergarten, the first father-daughter dance? Will I be a hot mess when the flier comes out about the school's Mother-Son Bowling Party next year? Will ten be like five? What about thirteen? High school? Will this ever settle into something gentler, more bittersweet? I know in grieving my parents who passed away years ago that memories of them now feel more like a hug, a moment of thanks that I got to have them as my parents. But grief for a child is so different, so much harder-maybe because I never got to know my younger children outside of me. Can these jabs ever evolve into sweet moments if I never got living moments with them outside of my uterus? Is this why the first day of school hurts more than some random Tuesday when my kids would have been three or four or six-because these should be milestone days that we look back on fondly?"