My daughter died. That’s the end of her story. It’s a beautiful, tragic story, but it has ended and everything else continues to be and that seems so wrong. Practically I get it. One life ends and all others continue as they always have. My life continues, but I don’t know what to do with it so I go through the motions and wait to understand, to adjust, to accept. Some have said the past is the best indicator of the future. Okay, people I loved have died before and it was hard, painful even. Time helped. Staying busy helped. Letting people help gave some relief. Helping others helped too. All that will get me through this time too, but not soon, maybe not for a very long time.
Remembering is the worst and the best part of my days now. Every happy time I recall makes me cry and makes me smile at the same time. Every new card that comes in the mail sharing others’ memories of my girl makes me cry and makes me smile at the same time. I think to myself that no one can imagine or understand this pain and confusion and anger and despair, but I am wrong about that. Others have lost their children and know too well the world I live in now. They have reached out to lift me up, or at least try to keep me from sinking any further. I am so grateful to them.
Gratitude is coming easier to me that I had hoped. The kindness and compassion of friends, neighbors, acquaintances and even strangers are so appreciated. Being cared for and thought of keeps the loneliness at bay. It has always been my practice to make a gratitude list most days, if not actually written down at least noted in my mind early in the day. Right this minute if I try to list all that I am grateful for it includes: My grandchildren. Being here and being strong for them gives me purpose that I so need. My husband who reminds me constantly that we honor Teri’s memory by living a good life; that she would not approve of any wallowing but always wanted all good things for her family. My son who makes me laugh just because he knows I need to do that. The usual other stuff; a home, health, neighbors, living above the poverty line. Mostly I deeply appreciate that Teri was in my life and brought so much joy to so many. Not that she was perfect, but she was close enough for me. She gave more that she got from this world, cared too much too often and always kept trying against all odds. She was my hero.
Now I have to find a way to carry on with all of us still here. My granddaughter is expecting a baby in May. She and her mother were planning a reveal party before, so we got busy and put together that party to announce that a new baby girl is on her way. We decorated the house and put out punch and cookies, snacks and sodas, and enjoyed the company of friends and soccer moms and even one adorable baby boy for a couple of hours. It’s a start.
Christmas is next. All the trees (I put up only five this year) are trimmed and there are candles and trinkets from Christmases past all over the house. Gifts have been ordered online and the baking has begun. Finding some happiness in the holiday is my next goal. Once that is done we will find something else to look forward too. That is the only way I know to live this life.