I miss her.
And I feel like I have so much to write but I dont know if I have enough clarity in me to get it out.
Today was the first “normal” day. And it was beyond hard. I snuggled with Jonathan on the couch..and thought ok maybe I can do this living thing. Somehow I ended up looking at one of the poster boards from her service. One with lots of photos of her.
And the ache started to crack open.
Jonathan came in the room with me and we talked about the pictures. And the memories we had.
And the ache started to rip further…
I told Tony I needed to go shower…code for being alone.
…and the ache exploded.
I did my best to stifle it to not upset my boys too much. And I made a decision, I need to see her again. So I called my sister and she took me. Jennifer looked better than feared. Very much like she was sleeping. I talked to her and cried for her. And willed her with all of my heart and soul to just please..
open her eyes.
I am glad I went but part of the reason I went was to try and make this all real…not just painful..but real.
50 more yrs?!!?
Rewind..to yesterday. Saturday. When we decided to make her services public we also decided to do a immediate family thing the day after. As a family we also decided the younger cousins wouldnt be us for the first part of the afternoon, but our 3 would be. I think it was the right choice. With all of the planning for her public services I did almost nothing to prepare for this day. Which I think also turned out to be a good thing.
The night before I sat and I wrote and wrote and wrote. But boiled it down to a few very simple ideas…
I..we…needed family to be with us to remember her again. That her big services on friday were the closing of a chapter and saturday would be putting the book down …to just absorb …before flipping the next page. We talked and cried and laughed. Then we met all of the younger cousins and we all wrote on and released balloons to her. It was good..a tradition we have started with our boys for sure. And we all watched those balloons stick together the way family should…and form a heart shape to float to her..I wish I could hear her voice.
50 more yrs?!?!
We went back to my parents and ate together. And drank a little too. And then we laughed and laughed. Til our sides hurt we laughed. And made a family tree with handprints. A craft started with art therapy through hospice…we made one just for the our family of 6..then started another one for our family of 40 with my siblings and their families. We have a few more prints to add but we added many more hands to our extended family tree.
We came home. And my husband and I grieved into each other in our kitchen while our 3 living children slept.
Friday morning. February 21st. We were woken by my lovely sister in law calling for us. She came to pick up our boys for us. We got our breakfast delivery from an amazing friend…and we took turns feeding the baby. She was so happy and smiley. It was almost unnerving. But also a good reminder of what a gift motherhood is.
I got dressed…
The day before I took out what I planned to wear. And I didnt like it. I didnt feel good in it which is what really mattered to me. So I went shopping with my sister and friend and a screaming baby. We fairly quickly found 2 outfit options. Both I liked…both I felt good in.
Back to friday morning. I got dressed…and re-dressed back and forth. I couldnt decide what felt right to wear. I was certainly channeling Jennifer since it was the shoes that were really messing me up. And she was a shoe fanatic. So 30 minutes later than we wanted to leave we loaded up (with both outfits).
I ended up changing there one final time. I am glad I did. I am happy with what I wore!
Soon the whole service will be in a format I can share it. And I will. But I will say it was as perfect a day as I could have hoped for for a day I never wanted to happen. I am proud of what we created to share our daughter with everybody who has come to care about her…and us…A rough guesstimate of people in attendance to be over 1000.
Incredible. Shocking. Touching.
The room was full far beyond that though. I am not sure I can adequately explain what it felt like to me that day. I wish I could jar it up to share.
…and to have it again for myself.
Twice now I have felt something. Bigger, beyond. And it gives me hope. For the true joy she is having. And I think it also makes me hurt that much more when that feeling is gone.
The only way I can think to explain it…I love my husband and my children. Its a feeling that comes from the inside out. I know they love me…even sometimes I feel it but it still emanates from the inside.
But what I felt that friday morning..was a pressing into me. And holding me upright. And I was in a almost euphoric haze. I cried but not the same tears I cried before and since. They were true…but not as pain filled. I try so hard to remember and capture that feeling. The one I had those last hours with her and to a lesser degree again that friday in the gym. I think I beleived in God before. But the steadying at her service and the fullness in her room …that is something beyond me…beyond this life. That much I am sure of.
I just wish I could feel it again. Instead of just desperately trying to remind myself…not even of how it felt because I cannot do that…but just that I felt it.
50 more yrs?!?!
One moment I really remember both in writing my eulogy and giving it was how hard it was to end it. To know that, as another mommy to angel said, I am done planning for her. 6 yrs I have spent planning for her. In that moment of writing and reading planning for my daughter was coming to an end.
We stayed til they started to take the tables in the reception area down. I knew it was coming. So I looked for Tony. He came into the room and I ran to him reaching for him…my best friend. So much so that he was worried something had happened. But it was just the ending…of that day…the closing of that chapter…
Right at the end of the service we did a butterfly release. All of the kids got to touch one and watch it go. I want to try to do it again with just my kids…
Her drs and social worker came. They didn’t have to. But it was so very important to me that they did.
We only knew them for 107 days. 3 months 15 days.
But I needed them there. I think she would have wanted them there. They were the first of 4 embraces that made the tears flow.
In reverse thats our past 3 days. Full of so much. Love and sorrow… But more than anything I am left with a desire to just..