In the past few weeks, during just about every lunch hour, you can find my friends in our work café learning how to fold or folding origami cranes in memory of Amy. And every day, it seems, I find a new person so worthy of a prayer/comfort shawl. I, too, am perfecting the art of folding the cranes and always make time to work on the shawls as the deadline approaches in August.
I know that the energy I put into these projects serve two purposes: 1) memorialize my daughter and 2) distract me from the clock which is ticking that painful countdown to Devastation Day! Sometimes I pause and remind myself why I am folding a crane or crocheting a shawl while I am working on these projects and you can probably imagine the overwhelming shock and sadness that overcomes me. When does it ever truly sink it? Sinking in and acceptance are two different chapters in my own personal grief “journey”. It’s not like I can’t say “my daughter died” – yes, I can now say the word “died.” I want to say it because the word “died” sounds as harsh as the reality feels.
Unfortunately for anyone who is keeping track of what “stage” I may be in now, I will probably never graduate because I doubt I will ever get to the final stage. Does that mean I will grieve the rest of my life? Yeah, most definitely, but as I have said before, it is still my intention to surround the hole in my heart with love. My heart will always remember my old life and how much I miss my daughter. No new normal will ever heal that wound. Does that mean that I am not being mindful and present in my life now? Yup! It does. But quite honestly, I don’t care. I embrace and treasure times with my kids despite the neon light that flashes every second the painful reminder that Amy is missing as we do the most ordinary things.
Father’s Day – it was a beautiful day here after a week of torrential rain. My children came over to spend time with my husband which we both enjoyed. Since it was such a gorgeous day, we decided to cook on the grill. Everyone was outside enjoying the weather while I finished some final details in the kitchen when I reached up to the top shelf to grab a serving dish and discovered Amy’s Pampered Chef purchase of the prep dishes she had to have to make chicken cutlets. Seeing those 3 dishes took my breath away. I could almost see her in the kitchen preparing food, while her iPhone played her favorite tunes. Maybe someday those memories will be a comforting thought. Not that day though. I looked out onto the patio and could almost picture Amy grilling the food … However, I was doing the grilling this year. One thought leads to another and to another and before I knew it I was sobbing and feeling so depressed. But it was Father’s Day and I had to suck it up because I didn’t want to ruin the day. As soon as dinner was over and everyone was relaxing outside again, I knew I had to go to the cemetery. I am the first to admit that she is not there, but it was like something was pushing me to get in my car and drive to the cemetery even though it was closed. Thankfully, I was able to enter and much to my surprise there were many others who were ignoring that the cemetery was closed too. Wonder what prompted them to visit at 7:30 p.m. Surely they were not being mindful and present in their life as I am being told to do … Or maybe they were missing a father or a loved one and felt that same push.
That’s the thing about living without someone you love so much and who was such a huge part of the fabric of your life, it’s difficult to stay in the moment without longing for another time when your life felt complete because your loved one was here.
Tic toc – ready or not … Devastation Day is coming. However, today it suddenly hit me how blessed I am and awakened me momentarily from my grief fog when I saw that large box full of cranes which my friends have made, even though a few weeks ago most of us had no idea what an origami crane was or how to go about folding one. In that moment, I felt a little less alone and grateful for every person who has shown me how willing they are to remember Amy and how they have opened their hearts to comfort me in so many different ways.
I have a new admiration for those who step outside their own personal comfort zone and have the courage to look me in the eye and accept me even though I will never be the same again. I also see the fear in those who are drifting away because my tragedy is too sad and I cannot offer them what I did before Devastation Day. They did not sign up to be with Devastated Dee.
Thanking those, who continue to show me they care, from the bottom of my broken heart for all you do to remember Amy. And a special thank you to my new friend from Canada for mailing me the lovely cranes which arrived!
If you pray, please keep my family in your prayers as the pressure builds as the time approaches when we are face to face with Devastation Day and the reality of why we are always remembering Amy.