Grief is a tricky thing.
I have written many times about grief. I believe there are many types and many circumstances that throw us into a pit of grieving that we cannot quickly escape. I believe that grief steals something from you that nothing can fully replace. Of course the peace of God covers it, but it lingers. It's tricky. Grief is messy. It has triggers. It sneaks up on you and attacks something deep inside of your soul. Grief can heal you or it can destroy you. I do not believe there is much of an in-between.
Nanny died almost 4 years ago.
I almost cannot even write it. My stomach churns and my eyes well. I cannot believe for four years of my life I have been without her. It is gut wrenching to imagine having to go even another day without hearing her voice or smelling her skin. I literally ache for her laugh. I want so badly for her to see my children. She would love them so much. She would laugh at brother and give them every part of her just like she did to anyone in her life.
Oh how I long to love the way that my Nanny loved.
I pulled out her Halloween sweatshirt from storage. My mom sent it to me when I was living in North Carolina and shortly after I had Nora. Nanny had died only months before. When I pulled it out of the box, I fell to my knees in despair. I felt like I was going to vomit; and I almost did. The reality of that sweatshirt coming to me in a box validated this great loss I felt so deep inside. She wasn't coming back to wear that sweatshirt, to celebrate Halloween, or for any reason. She was physically never going to speak to me, or hug me ever again. A piece of me died again that day--months after Nanny had.
I have never washed the sweatshirt. I pull it out every autumn and hang it in my closet; but before I do I take a deep, long breath of her. I smell it from shoulder to wrist. I wrap myself in her warmth and cry. And a piece of me dies again
every. single. time.
Alot of changes have occurred in our family in the last four years. All of them significant enough to transform the entire dynamic of who we are as a family unit. Children have been born, relationships have blossomed. Some have ended. Jake started school. All of which exclude the person that I would have wanted to experience any of them with the most. It's heartbreaking.
Tonight as we sat at dinner with my family, Nora began playing in an area near our table. She was so tired. When she is tired it is as if a veil is lifted and Nanny's eyes shine through her face. We all see it. Sometimes we mention it. Sometimes we dont--maybe we cant.
Tonight, my mom smiled across the table at her and talked about how much she looked like Nanny. She repeated it again to my dad, who agreed. Suddenly we all grew quiet. We all stared at this little girl who was born just months after Nanny went on to Glory and I felt relieved. You see, for a very long time I prayed that Nora would not be born with an agenda to heal us from the pain, agony and grief that Nanny's death brought. For awhile after she was born I feared this would be the case. Now, after years of circumstances that have changed our family I realize that in everything God has allowed to happen in each of us, He did it for a greater reason. Nora's eyes may look like my Nanny; maybe to remind me of the love I will always feel for her, but Nora can never heal any of us of the pain we feel from our loss. And thankfully...it was never her job to do so. Looking at everyone admiring Nora for her own beauty while sharing a dynamic characteristic of Nanny spoke volumes to my heart.
I realized that we are all still hurting. We all still miss her.
We are still on this journey together.
And that is ok.
And that is ok.
Nora is a beautiful reminder of the hope for our future. We still have many wonderful years to share with her, to teach her, to mold and shape her. We can still enjoy her. I love when her eyes grow glassy and they squint just right. It's a wonderful feeling to see my Nanny in the midst of my every day.
But God is my healer. He is the holder of my hand and the mender of my heart. He sees this unending pain and yet gives me peace. He takes what feels broken and achy and patches it all up again. He is my God who takes care of our every need.
I miss her so much. I hate the sneaky part of grief. The one that wraps itself up tightly inside of you and ends up setting up shop inside of your spirit. The one that creeps in and brings moments of fear, doubt and anxiety.
The more I think about it, grief sounds alot like the enemy and nothing like my God.
I see that we are all healing. I am thankful for everything we have gone through and overcome. I see restoration in the faces of my parents and in the hearts of my siblings. It has taken time, and it will take more. A piece of us will always be missing, but God can fill the hole.
I see Him trying.
What hole is he trying to fill in you?