Friday, September 25, 2015

I Was Here....

While I was pregnant with Jillian, I didn’t want to know if I was carrying a boy or a girl. I wanted to be surprised.  Already having two boys that filled my world with busyness, noise and joy, I said that it didn’t matter. But if I did have a girl, I wanted to dress her in pink dresses with pink bows. I wanted to have that strong mother/daughter connection that I had with my own mother. I wanted a girl.
On September 24, 1989, I gave birth to that little bundle of pink. Jillian. My precious little girl. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the pink bows and dresses were to be soon replaced with her brother’s high-top sneakers, no shirt, and a ball of some sort. A young force of energy that knew no boundaries surrounding her abilities. A confident, loving, funny, caring human being.

When Jillian died that cold December morning, the bright light that was her essence went with her. The light was extinguished not only in my heart, but in the world around us. She mattered. She was here. She interacted with others. She loved and she played. She had a sister and brothers, a husband. Grandparents, in- laws, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles that she loved and cared about. Friends.

She mattered. And she was here.

Each day can be a struggle for those who have lost a loved one, but there are two days a year that are especially difficult. The birthday of the one missing, and their death anniversary. Two days where we fall apart and really drink in our grief. We NEED to do this. We need to taste each drop of pain, sorrow and loss. It is our way of honoring our loved one. And we do not need to sugar coat it or pretend it’s okay. Because it’s not.

Now, I’m not saying that yesterday, Jillian's 26th birthday, was all black and gloom and doom. It wasn't. This is where God comes in. I was given little “God Gifts” all day long yesterday.
  • My kids  and only grand kids moved to Tennessee recently. The twin girls are just eight weeks old. Right when the tears began to flow in the morning, I receive a picture of those babies, reminding me that this is life. There is joy. And even though I am not there to watch them grow up, I’m blessed with a son and daughter in law that make it a point to include me. 

  • At work I’m blessed with a boss and co-workers that truly care and recognize that this is a rough day for me. 

  • At my favorite greenhouse , I was able to talk with the owner and cry on her shoulder and talk about God’s grace. I left with several things to plant, and a gift just for Jillian from her. 

  • Dinner was Hungry Howie’s and beer, in Jillian’s honor. All the kids except the southern ones were there, along with friends, and Jillian’s Steve.  It is a gift in itself that we have stayed close, even though life moves forward. I’m blessed to stay in touch with Steve’s mom and dad, and their family. I love them all dearly.


  • Josh and Kaytie celebrated in Tennessee by singing Happy Birthday with cupcakes, Charlotte blowing out the candle. 

  • I completed Jillian's celebration by texting with Joshua from 2am until 3am, expressing the anger at our loss, but knowing it’s okay to feel that way. And to feel the support and connection,  the love between our family. Oh my God. If that isn’t a gift, I don’t know what is. 

So, things are hard, and that’s okay. We will get through this in our own way. But please be patient with us. And for goodness sakes, please don't offer your opinion on how or what we should feel. That will only shut us down.

For those that are going through the sharp knife of grief, I pray for you. I pray that for one minute you will be able to see that silver sliver of hope, the sparkle of joy, and to know that your loved one mattered. That they still matter. And so do you. And that it’s all okay.


~Peace




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