Eight months ago my sweet Piper died. We packed up our hotel room and came back to Georgia and planned a funeral. We spent the next few weeks in a daze...and I am not kidding. Chad and I have often looked at each other and been amazed at how little we remember from spring and summer.
Survival is like that, I guess.
And you know what? It gets harder. Every day it hurts more. Less people ask after you. The every day list of things to do becomes more daunting. Expectations begin to rise again and you feel the need to be less sad and more joyful when in reality there is little more than you would like to do than hide.
It's tricky to hide.
On top of grieving, which I would love to do emphatically, are responsibilities. And I for one am hating responsibilities. I am hating that Chad must go to school and work when he hurts so deeply. I am hating that my heart is so heavy I feel like I am constantly letting people down. And that's if I am around people because the more I hurt, the less I want to be around anyone. I want to hibernate and sleep and putter around my home which feels like a sanctuary.
Until someone breaks into our storage shed and steals Chads tools and drills and tackle boxes and my already fragile sense of security and leaves my Linley fearful of sleeping alone and wondering what exactly is God protecting us from if not death or theft.
Yes, that happened.
And when bills are piling up and health issues are arising and hearts are already so very heavy and disappointments abound and you feel frantic in your attempt to JUST KEEP YOUR SHIT together...you realize you are not, indeed, keeping much of anything together. Despite trying. Despite hoping. Despite your scuffle to do all you can you are only treading water with a leaking life vest.
This is where we are.
Or at least this was where I was before today.
Today I planned to begin the process of decorating for Christmas. Last Christmas was filled with equal parts fear and hope...a tenuous balance at best. And yet we made ornaments with handprints and both Linley and Piper picked out their yearly ornament. I made 4 stockings and we placed the Nativity on the shelf. After doing all this the girls would spend each evening next to the tree checking out all the different and meaningful ornament and it was beautiful and it was normal.
Again, we were flooded with fear and hope.
And today when I went to pick up my decorations from the last place I remember seeing them, they were not there. And no one can remember where they went to. Rubbermaid containers filled with homemade ornaments and 1st Married Christmas ornaments and tree skirts and handprint decor and plastic candy canes and photos with smiling little girl faces....are all gone.
It was like losing all over. I am already aching to reach for Piper...there are no more memories to make with her, ever. I am missing the small years with Linley...I am yearning to see her color with the same intensity that she did when three years old. And the symbols of these brief moments with the girls are gone...I cannot find them and my home at Christmas this year will be stark.
Stark when I really, truly needed to feel full and really, truly needed to be reminded physically of some sweet moments.
So before today we felt beaten. Floated. Forgotten. Hurt. Fragile. Pick a painful adjective that works best for you.
And now, I am struggling to push, push, push down the despair that is creeping at me. The despair that threatens to outshadow my weak contentment with what little I do still hold. So often I feel the pressure to extoll God and his goodness and his mercy and joy and hope and yet, today I am putting all that in my pocket and sobbing for the hurt of it all.
So much is lost. My daughter, my security and some sweet symbols that once we held hope while living fear.