The photo is of my dog, Bailey, aka our family healer. He made us smile today after he shopped in my daughter’s cat’s toy box and then sat in front of the happy holidays pillow guarding his toys as if to say cheer up, family. Amy LOVED Bailey. Bailey magically understands all of our needs and I know he misses Amy too. He instinctively seems to know who needs a lick or his company the most. He has been such a loyal friend to our broken family.
Yesterday, Christmas Eve, hit me so hard. If there was ever a day when I could have died from a broken heart, it was yesterday. While I have been grieving so hard, I was unprepared for the ambush of emotions which I could not manage. All I could think about was “no, please, not another Christmas without Amy. No, please, not another day without Amy.” It’s been too long since I have seen my girl and I am so worn out from this fight to survive. A fight that no one gets or how could they say “Merry” christmas to me so many times. Or underline “try” to have a good Christmas? Don’t they know? Be merry? Please stop, I feel like screaming. If you walked a mile in my shoes, you would never believe all the energy it takes to push myself to an okay level and that’s a stretch. Maybe some day, the holidays and every day won’t hurt this much. Maybe some day …
People truly do care about their family and friends who have lost a child. I have found that many will try to be present until it becomes too overwhelming. I have learned that people will avoid you because they do not know what to say. I have also learned that no one has an inkling of how painful it is to live in a world without a child.
Yesterday, I felt as though I had arrived at a new place of pain. It shifted alright. This time the 2 ton elephant ate too many Christmas cookies because the grief I dealt with yesterday was unlike any other day so far. There was not one person in this entire universe who I felt as though I could pick up the phone and call. I share this not to solicit sympathy but more as an awakening of how lonely this journey is now. What I have found is that most people need to be in the mood to deal with our sorrow. And after all, yesterday was Christmas Eve!
Many kind people did reach out to me leading up to the holidays. Many also ignored us. Neither category of people could have saved me from yesterday though. Yesterday was my reality. Yesterday is my new normal in all its glory. Yes, I got the memo. My daughter is not coming home and the world that I long for is gone.
By the end of the day when it was time to meet up with my husband and daughter, I was exhausted and numb. I had cried a river and my body was aching. I slept 8 hours last night, which was only the second time in over 16 months where I was able to sleep that long. Of course it helped to be at my oldest daughter’s cozy home surrounded by the freedom to just be and no worries as I found myself needing to isolate again in a warm corner where I crocheted while they watched a movie. Right before I decided to go to bed, a compassionate friend reached out to me and I was able to share a bit of my pain in another judgment free zone. Hearing from her comforted me. Thank you, Jennifer.
Before I went to bed, I read a letter written to me by a wonderful caring woman. Despite losing two children and a grandchild, her faith is amazing. She holds a special place in my heart ever since I met her, which was 6 weeks after losing Amy. In her letter, she reminded me that while I may still struggle with prayer and trust that I should never be afraid to ask for help. In fact she told me to start by saying one word prayers. So before I closed my eyes, I did just that. I said “help”.
Am I instantly healed? No. But I got through today. And I am less angry today because I finally understand that no one knows what a struggle it is to live without a child. In particular, my child. Unless you have suffered the same tragic loss and your life has been hit by a Category 6 Hurricane or a devastating earthquake which forces you to rebuild your entire life, you do not know. No one is ever going to get it so maybe it’s time for me to stop trying to explain my heart.
The world has beaten me down to a new low and I no longer care whether I am understood or not. It’s Christmas. Just another day in paradise.
Remembering Amy, my sweet, sweet angel girl. We love you so much. I will picture you at a wonderful birthday party today full of light and love beyond my wildest expectations. May you pass a glimmer of your peace to those of us who are missing you today and every day. Feathers, Amy, Feathers.