Yesterday as my family struggled through another “holiday”, I found myself looking beyond the gaping hole which the absence of Amy has left in our lives and started to take in the ripple effect of all of the secondary losses related to losing our loved one. All it took to trigger these thoughts was a glimpse over a fence into a neighboring grandparents backyard where their grandchildren were having an Easter egg hunt while their parents gathered inside.
Then I glanced around from the beautiful sunroom from where I was sitting and took in my own view as I noticed my three most precious loved ones with a photo of Amy hanging in the background on the wall which was taken one week before her sudden passing.
Identities forever changed and now hold a new meaning: “my girls” as I fondly referred to my “daughters”; sisters become sister and for my surviving* daughter, no sister or future maid-of-honor, (*Oh how I cringe referring to my lovely child as a “surviving” daughter and after I make my point, will never use that word again to refer to either of my children …)
There will be no Aunt Amy in the physical sense and Amy will never be a mother or I a grandmother to her children. Oh yes our Amy was here but she didn’t get to finish her roles in our family. Instead, Amy is now a memory in our hearts along with photos supporting her existence. Photos and memories which ended 8 days before her 28th birthday. It all seems so wrong.
Once the thought starts, it moves on. You meticulously build your life and in a blink of an eye it’s shattered. All those dominos lovingly and carefully placed as you build your family and POOF you take one away and everything shifts and falls. This may sound dramatic to anyone not standing in the middle of the aftermath of a similar tornado which blew through my family’s life on August 4, 2013.
Minutes later someone asks when we are going to fire up the grill as she is getting hungry so I quickly attempt to reset myself while blinking back my tears, temporarily shut off my mind and help to prepare dinner. No holiday ham for this broken family. Four people working hard to get through another holiday dinner while carefully avoiding the triggers of holidays past.
I kept it together during most of the day until I sat down by myself last night and cried as I realized grief is not even close to being done with us yet. We have a lifetime ahead of secondary losses always reminding us that we are no longer an ordinary family. Even if our family some day grows, nothing will ever be the same. Family photos … family trees all which scream who is missing. So the sad cadence continues.
At least I don’t have to go into work today and deal with all of the how was your holiday questions? Who says I can’t count my blessings?
Always remembering Amy.