I woke up this morning and sat up on my bed, legs dangling towards the floor. The heaviness of my eyes was overwhelming. I was exhausted, yet weirdly refreshed and thankful to find that the stinging of my bloodshot eyes had subsided after a few hours of sleep.
My mind didn’t waste any time reminding me of how I felt when I laid down those short few hours ago.
As I got up, the corner of my eye caught a glimpse of my heart that laid conspicuously on the pink flannel pillowcase. Black mascara decorated the top, providing me proof of the love that was shed. The fragile threads that mended my broken heart had torn apart, the years of love and sorrow finally freed. Again.
It had been a while, months since I had succumbed to those persistent and pesky dogpile of emotions.
Yet they come, sure as the morning sun. Learning to accept and live with them is difficult, yet over the years, I have learned to embrace these precious moments.
The 10 years have passed by so fast. How can that be? Ten long years without my little girl. Without hearing her giggle, tucking her in, and watching her grow.
What would she be doing today? Lounging around like most 16-year-olds, getting her driver’s license, sleeping in on a warm summer morning? Arguing with her brother, or would she be tending to her lamb, or eager to get to volleyball practice?
The pain is indescribable. But when I try, I can tell you it feels so heavy, and it’s difficult to breathe. When you want to talk with her, hold her, tell her you love her but all you can do is mutter the words and fall into your pillow sobbing in disbelief.
What triggered it this time? Was it that her birthday is tomorrow? Was it while we were out on a Saturday night and I overheard a mom say, “Would you like this, sis? Come sit down, sissy.”
My sweet sissy. I haven’t said that word in 10 years. The name that is etched in her headstone, Lydia’s nickname, “Sissy.”
Instantly, she flashed before me and I could see her strawberry-blonde hair blowing in the wind as she twirled joyfully in her purple sundress giggling, looking like the picturesque poster of childhood. So innocent and happy.
Holding my breath as my eyes welled up, I shook my head, turned, and walked away.
How did this happen? Why did this happen to me?
I cry and cry. Why do we feel so much pain after all these years?
I just want to wrap my arms around her tightly, see her smile, and tell her I love her.
One more time.
Five years, seven months, and 19 days just weren’t long enough.
My mind finds it hard to fathom life without her now, attempting to piece together the two worlds in which I remain a permanent resident.
When I’m alone for the night, on a work trip, or at home, what do I do? I try to make sense of my life before and after, and it’s almost predictable that tears will fall.
Silence and solidarity bring me to a place of reality.
My emotions overwhelm me. Being alone forces me to engage those pent up feelings, letting them run rampant without interruption, allowing me to be present in the moment. So I weep and sob some more.
I talk to her and tell her I love her and how much I miss her. How I miss her messy bedroom, the boogers she left above her headboard, and her beautiful artwork that decorated the house.
I am immensely grateful for my current life yet still quietly yearn for my old life. I miss her being here, when life was simple, happy and free of heartbreak. When I didn’t have to worry about grief, or her grave, or about all the years of events and triggers that seek to ravage my soul reminding me of what used to be.
Am I weak? No.
Shouldn’t I be over this by now, after all, it’s been 10 years? Absolutely, some would think so, but the real answer is no. I will never get over it.
Am I strange? No.
When my faucet runs dry, I lay my head on the pillow, taking a deep breath and exhaling while clutching my Bible.
Strangely, I feel a bit better. Over the years, I’ve learned that nothing or no one can comfort me like Jesus.
I am silently reminded we are meant for so much more in this world than to hold on to heartbreak and pain. Could I sit and wallow in my pain and loss for the distant future? Without a doubt. However, I know my sweet girl would not want this, nor does our amazing God. Our time here is limited and our capacity to experience the complex feelings that come with deep love is a remarkable gift.
The hope we have been given shines light into those dark places of my soul. I can rest in hope knowing beauty will come from the tragedy of my daughter’s death, and one day, we will be reunited. Until then, I wait faithfully with perseverance.
“In hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)
This post originally appeared on the author’s blog
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