Three and a Half Years

“How do you commemorate the day that marks 6 months since your life changed forever? Words fail me. So many things can change you. A marriage. A birth. But a child’s death? An experience we should not have. Our children should bury us, not the other way around. Yet here we stand. Mourning. Missing.”

I found this brief paragraph printed on a piece of paper by the computer the other day. I was surprised. I don’t know where it came from. When I printed it out. It just proves that there are not coincidences. God has a purpose and His timing is perfect. Today marks 3 1/2 years since Arlynne went to Heaven. I wrote this paragraph 3 years ago. In the early days when it hurt to breathe. When the grief was fresh. When the shock was still a daily reality.

Frankly, January has been a long month. Full of close quarters and the subsequent impatience associated with a cold Canadian winter. I feel like I just want to cry today. In fact, I probably will. At some point. But not yet.

I used to mark the months on FaceBook. The time since Arlynne left us. I won’t today. My kids don’t even realize what today is. Pete does. Though we don’t often talk about it. I haven’t told my friends. Remembering, still mourning, makes me feel pathetic. It makes me seem unaware of how much happier Arlynne is now. I know. I know that she wouldn’t want to be back here. She wouldn’t want to leave her home now. But that does little to soothe my heart. A heart that isn’t really broken anymore but whose scars will sometimes ache with a pain only loss can inflict.

Someone called us very soon after Arlynne died to tell us how much she wouldn’t want to come back here. It is true. But it isn’t what a grieving mom needs to hear then. Maybe it is a realization that is best made by that mom herself. Then there is no one to blame for insensitivity.

Arlynne’s best friend’s mom still marks a day every month in honour of Arlynne. We call it “Cow Appreciation Day”. Arlynne loved cows. I don’t know why. She just did. We were supposed to have a party to celebrate her 16th birthday after she got back from her missions trip. That would have been August 21st, 2011. So every month, on the 21st I get a cryptic message on my FaceBook newsfeed that few people understand. But I know. I know she isn’t forgotten. I am so thankful for that.

Today I will send Eden to a weekend retreat. She doesn’t want to go. She is anyways. I need a break from 13-year-old drama. From her constant fears. From the noise only a girl that age can make. I pray that God “shows up” for her in a powerful way. I pray she will have fun. Safe fun. But fun. I pray she will connect with someone new. That she might just make a new friend.

Today is not a day for eloquent prose. Today it feels cloudy even the sun has shone, reflecting off freshly fallen snow. Today is what it is. A day to mourn a little. A day to remember. A day just to write about the grittier things of life. To expose the fact that sometimes it is just a little harder to hold on to hope. To let you see that I am human. Maybe to show that sometimes it is okay just to have that kind of day.

Today is a day that I need to press in to God. The only Source of peace. The only Source of comfort. The only Source of life. My Father God is big enough to handle everything I have to give Him. And He will help me. He has before. And He will. He promised that He would. And He is incapable of breaking His Word.

Today will soon be over. We will be closer to the 4 year anniversary of grief than we are to 3 years. Days, weeks, months, years since I last heard her voice. Since I last felt her weight on my back as she snuck up to hug me from behind. Too long.

Tomorrow will dawn again. The sun will return. The melancholy of today will fade and I will remember the hope. The hope of Heaven. But that is tomorrow…