There is a part of me that wants to be brutally honest, but there is another part of me that wants to hold back because I fear it will not be well received. Everyone seems to have their own ideas and advice about how I should handle my grief and it seems the ones with the biggest opinions are the ones who have never lived in my shoes (or even tried to imagine being in them). I have learned some pretty hard truths about how grief makes people uncomfortable. But your discomfort in merely observing my grief is nothing compared to actually living it. So for all the people who truly need to read this, I hold nothing back. I share my joys, my sorrows...I share my heart.
10 1/2 months...it may seem so insignificant to some people. It's not really a big milestone with anyone's babies. Maybe your child started crawling, stood up, or even started walking by 10 1/2 months. 10 1/2 months...it's not even worthy of a well visit or a page in your baby book.
But to me, 10 1/2 months means Lily has been in Heaven longer than she was with me. I have now lived without her longer than I got to live with her. And so much more than I ever anticipated...it crushes me.
A few weeks ago I awoke on Sunday morning sweating and shaking from a dream. In my dream, Lily was there. It was just after her funeral and Jason and I both realized we could have one more chance to see her. We would have one more chance to kiss her and to hold her. One more chance...I can't even begin to tell you how much I want that one more chance. Ten and half months later...if I got it, I don't think I would ever let go.
But I didn't get it. I didn't get to hold her. I didn't get to kiss her or tell her how much I love her. I didn't even get to see her. I didn't get just one more time...not even in my dream.
I went to sit on the couch, trying to calm my nerves, trying not to shout out in my anger and despair of that moment. When Jason woke up he could tell I was shaken. I could barely get the words out before I crumbled in his lap and started wailing.
Somehow I got myself up to shower, but continued my sobs and ugly cries there. I pulled myself together enough to get to Mass, but I knew it would be a fragile day.
The whole Church was singing "How Great is Our God" and it's usually one of my very favorites. But on this morning, in that very moment, I couldn't sing those words. In that very fragile moment it all felt like a lie. My lips trembling and my voice shaking, I could hardly breathe. Big, giant, fat tears filled my eyes and once again, I wept.
I wept because I didn't even get to keep her in my dream. The one place where our wishes can come true and all at once all the wishes/prayers that didn't come true came crashing and thrashing into me like a wave I didn't see coming. My heart was so full of anger.
All of those wishes and prayers...to have time with Lily alive, to go into labor naturally, for a smooth delivery, to not have to stay in the hospital without my daughter, for our dispute with insurance to be settled (still not), to be able to conceive again without trying (still not), for just one picture of Ted holding Lily, for any amount of time with my daughter, for no regrets.
I didn't get any of those wishes, so I thought maybe, just maybe I could have some sweet moments with my daughter in my dreams. But I couldn't get to her.
And for the first time on this journey, in this new life I now live, I was truly angry at God. For the first time I couldn't sing how great He is. He couldn't even give me one dream.
The anger and bitterness quickly leads me down the road to despair. And friends, I know what despair looks and feels like and I despise those feelings of hopelessness. I hate having any feelings of anger or despair in relationship to Lily. It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway, I am not angry with Lily.
She is perfect and pure. She is everything that is good in me. She is the greatest accomplishment of my life. She is the one thing I know with absolute certainty that I did right. She is the reason I choose to forgive those who don't want to understand or ignore my grief. She is the reason I get out of bed every single day. She is the reason I would do it all over, again and again, in a heartbeat.
She is the reason I will spend the rest of my life striving towards Heaven. Because friends, in Heaven she will no longer be beyond my reach or just in my dreams...she will be in my arms. Knowing that with all my heart, leads me out of the despair and my Hope is restored. And once again I find myself grateful for my God who shows me mercy that never ceases and infinite grace upon grace as I walk this long and winding road of my grief.