GRIEF. Noun. A person, place or thing. "Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed"
GRIEVING. Verb. An action word. Something that you do. "1 : to cause to suffer : distress <it grieves me to see him this way> 2 : to feel or show grief over <grieving the death of her son> "
If grief is the response to loss and that loss never goes away then in return, the grief is never ending. It does not go away. It does not end. EVER.
But it does change. And continue to change. Thank goodness for the change.
It would be naive of me to think that how I feel today is how I will continue to feel in years come, that how I felt in year one of missing Ruthie Lou even mirrors how I feel this year. Thankfully, grief changes. Now that doesn't mean that I miss her any less or that I am comfortable in any way with living without my daughter but the loss becomes more tolerable, more normal to this life. And it certainly doesn't mean that in a moments notice (or no notice at all) that I can find myself in the fresh, raw emotions of devastation that haunted me for months after saying goodbye to our sweet girl. Those moments still follow me......
I am thankful for this change. I am sad for this change. In moving farther away in time and in emotion, I feel like I have forgotten some of the memories I never wanted to forget. Thank goodness I wrote so much down, I read those words, close my eyes and I can instantly smell Ruthie Lou's sweet baby smell, I can feel her thick coarse hair in my fingers, I can hear the purr of her breath. But I am thankful that my mind has protected my heart enough to live in this world again, to find joy in the sorrow, to see beauty in the pain.
With all that said, the grief is ever present. It never fully goes away. Like the healing of a wound, the scab has come off but we are still left with this scar, the ever present reminder of the life that will never return.
I am participating in the "Capture Your Grief" event once again this year, it is a photographing event, which seems fitting to my loss for words lately. Last year, I was unable to finish the month, it was too raw, too hard to hold others grief along with my own. This year, I have a fresh perspective, a pull at my heart to discover the purpose in this mystery of life, to contribute to the legacy left by my daughter. I am not exactly sure what that is yet but I am following my heart to see where it leads. Ruthie Lou gave me so many gifts, left so many lessons in the shadow of her path and I don't feel like she's done yet. Perhaps she is guiding me through my journey.
Whatever the outcome, whether I finish the month or not, I know that my job in this life is to bring awareness to the world. Awareness of loss, awareness of love, awareness of grief, that it is all perfection. These babies who we love so much, are so important, they are our family, parts of our hearts that can never be replaced or forgotten, they are our greatest loves. No matter if our children are in our arms or in our hearts, they are a part of us. Forever.
I never want them to be forgotten. I never want a mama or a family to feel alone. You are not alone in this grief.
I am taking some photography classes and they seem to have taken any free moments I get after Reid falls asleep, it's great. They are not quite technical classes for my camera (yet!) but they are reflective forms of using the camera and ways to edit some sweetness in the photos. This work has really put some perspective back into my heart. It seems that I don't have, or haven't made, as much writing time as I once had and I miss it dearly. I miss the ability to put time into my thoughts but these pictures are speaking a thousand words that I am unable to right now. The camera is seeing the view of my heart, it's speaking volumes for me.
I spend a lot of alone time with Reid, beautiful, challenging, rewarding alone time. Since dad is full time school and work right now, Reid and I do pick up, dinner, bath time, evening walk, dancing and bed time together each and every day, it is so hard and exactly as I hoped it to be. He is my buddy, my sweet boy, my love.
Being a mama is the hardest, most exhausting, yet rewarding job I have ever had. I look around the house and it doesn't seem like I do much of anything. I don't have alone time, let alone free time. I can't remember the last book I read in its entirety that wasn't a parenting book. I can't do any task that requires the use of two hands. But I do get, big hugs, sweet kisses, squeals, oinks and a dancing partner all night long. I get to see the world through the innocent eyes of a discovering toddler. And at the end of the day when I snuggle him close, I get to breathe in the sweet fragrance of heaven as I inhale his baby smell.
I thoroughly realize I actually do so much. I am raising a little person; a brilliant, loving, sweet little boy. And THAT is my most important job, ever.
You are asleep in my arms as I lay in the recliner in the dark living room, it's way past bed time. You've been a out for a while now, soft music playing in the background, the perfect soundtrack to he rhythm of your breathing. I could lay you down in bed but then I wouldn't be holding you and right now, all I want in the world is to hold you. I never want to let you go. Never. And certainly not tonight.
It was a Sunday two years ago on August 7th, a typical summer night. I was tired, swollen, living barefoot and pregnant & loving life at 37 weeks 3 days. I called the nurse who advised me to stay hydrated drinking watermelon and cucumber juicees. I skipped the horse races for the first year ever because I could not imagine walking the hot pavement at the fairgrounds. I decided it was time to write my three months of sub plans since my baby would be arriving soon, there was much planning to do. On that very same night I had no idea that "tomorrow" would be the day that I joyfully & excitedly would go into labor with the sweetest baby girl. I had no idea that those moments would be forever ingrained in my head, setting the first domino in motion that would change my life. Forever.
I wrote this in early 2011, shortly after the transition of a most beautiful woman, sister, daughter of our friend(s) which was months before Ruthie Lou arrived but while she was in my belly. I was overwhelmed with pain, sadness & disbelief at the loss of such a unique soul yet somehow had this glimpse into what my God is, what life is because of her life. I have reflected on this piece so many times as I have walked this journey of two years. It amazes me tha I had the insight to write this without having any idea the turn my life would soon take. It's moments like this that solidify my faith of "what is"...
"I believe in a God that is loving.
I believe that our human experience is only one small part in the life of our soul and it does not begin nor end on the day of our birth or death.
I believe that our human life is short. Often times shorter than we could ever imagine. It is my own personal responsibility to live and love in a way that everyday I am spiritually fulfilled and proud of who I am and who I am eternally becoming.
I believe that people make daily choices in their life. From the moment I wake until I lay my head back on my pillow at night, my choices should be well thought out and only made with good intentions.
I believe that we are responsible only for oursleves. I can only control my own actions and reactions to experiences and events in my life.
I believe that all people are beautiful, pure and have good intentions. I make mistakes but am clear to always learn the lesson and try better next time.
I believe that very unfortunate things happen to very good people everyday without reasons known to us. Everyday I have the gift of choice of what I will learn from my experiences and how I will respond to lifes greatest as wells as most unfortunate events.
My God is pure, loving, accepting and warm. There is only love."
Two years later I am more certain than ever, there is only love. All my love to you, wherever you are on your own journey.