Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Grief at Christmas

Those moments of heartache can hit you at any time, but during the holiday season it seems to happen more frequently. With a Christmas tree, gifts, and family time, there are extra triggers coming at you. I think the worst part is knowing that the "whole" family will be together, when really it won't be. Someone very important is missing and we cannot FaceTime or make a phone call to help fill that void.

Today it is a rainy, gloomy day; just like it was after Tenley died last year. I am home alone while my husband works. I had many plans for the day but couldn't bring myself to do any of them. I felt unmotivated and lazy. Finally, I decided to get up off the couch and get ready to run some errands and  enjoy this time to myself. As soon as I thought "enjoy time to myself" I was paralyzed with sadness. I froze in my tracks and tears started to flow. I sat down and cried for the rest of the afternoon.

I am spending another Christmas without my daughter. She should be here getting into the wrapped presents, crawling all over the house, and keeping me busy. But instead I am home alone, childless.

I try very hard to make the most of the situation and be grateful for my alone time or time with my husband without any distractions, but I would trade it all to have my little girl here with us.

This time of year brings on the what ifs, we could've, and it should be's. I know there are so many people who have a loss that is triggered this time of year, just like me. I pray those of you who need a little extra hope and joy in your stockings this year. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tenley's Birthday

November 22nd was Tenley's birthday. It marks a year since I was blessed to meet my daughter, watch her fight for her life, and let her go. 

To celebrate her life we decided have a memorial for her with our family and closest friends. Because she had died so suddenly last year, we couldn't bring ourselves to have a service for her. This seemed like a good time to bring together our biggest supporters to celebrate and grieve Tenley's life. 

Our family set up some beautiful pieces to represent Tenley, as well as candles and flowers. When I arrived at the house I was overwhelmed at how beautiful everything looked, and how sad this day was. "I am spending my daughters birthday at her memorial," is all I kept thinking; this isn't how it should be. As people began to arrive I was sick to my stomach. 

But as I began to visit with my family and friends I felt grateful that on this difficult day we had asked all of these wonderful people to surround us with love and support. 

We then shared a few words with our family and friends about how our precious little girl changed our lives. She taught us how to come together as a family in a difficult time, how to persevere in a difficult time, and how to look to God for comfort and healing. 

My dad shared 1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG: "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" And and to that he added, "When that mist has cleared, we will see clearly our Tenley Grace and know her as if we spent a lifetime together. And there will be a reunion like no other." 

After we took some time to share, we continued a little tradition that I started on her half birthday, and blew bubbles to heaven to celebrate Tenley. 

I have learned this last year that there is hope; my hope is in God who will make all things good again. We were not promised a life without pain and tears, but if we look to him we are promised an eternity without pain and tears. And my tiny Tenley is doing just that. So I celebrate not only her 30 hours of life on Earth with me, but also her eternal life with a loving, healing God. 

Happy Birthday baby girl. Your mommy loves you more than words can say. I look forward to day that we reunite in heaven.