Friday, February 22, 2013

Last Day

Well, this is it. The day I have been dreading. A year ago today, this was the last day we saw our daughter alive.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of her death, and we're planning to keep distracted. So don't be surprised if I don't blog.

Today, though, I'm working and I'm blogging. Because today a year ago she was still alive. And her life is a beautiful memory. 

Today I'm remembering the last day I spent with her. She had just come off of her first real sickness, some kind of stomach flu. I remember being so relieved that she no longer had a fever, and she was eating solid food again. Jeremy had to go out to Utah to help with the family business for a day, and I remember him kissing her on the head as she sat in her high-chair, eating lunch. He told her to be good for me, and then he drove to the airport.

I remember she didn't want to go to bed that night. And since she had been sick and sleeping frequently in the days prior, I didn't fight with her about it. I brought her into my bed and we snuggled and watched Face Off (the reality TV show). She was so goofy -- delirious. She was fighting sleep SO hard. She sang me the Spiderman song, and kept doing the little web-slinging motion with her hand and made the "fsst fsst" Spiderman web-shooting noise like her daddy taught her. The Spiderman song was their thing.

She finally fell asleep on the pillow next to me at 8:30pm. I picked up her sleeping body and put her into her own bed for the last time. I wanted to keep her in bed with me -- and sometimes I still beat myself up for not listening to that desire -- but we were sleep-training her. She had been waking up in the middle of the night lately, and we were trying to teach her that she needed to get herself back to sleep because Mommy wasn't going to bring her into her bed anymore. 

Because Mommy needed sleep too.

It's a common desire among mothers, isn't it? That desire for sleep? But every day since that day, I have hated myself just a little bit for putting my desire for sleep above my daughter's desire to share my bed.

Not that it would have saved her. But I would have had just a little more time in her presence. 

I don't want to write about the rest of the night here. The memories terrorize me. I had to learn coping techniques from our grief counselor so those memories wouldn't swallow me whole. But as terrible as they are, I'm glad Jeremy doesn't share them with me. He has his own set of terrible memories -- but I'm glad these ones don't haunt him the way they haunt me.

I wanted to write here how I'm doing okay. I'm still breathing. I have more peace today than I thought I would. But you can see the path my mind took -- toward memories.

When memories are all you have of someone, it's amazing how much you can cling to them.

But today, today, not the anniversary but the day, I'm okay. I've made it a year, and it's like letting out a held breath.

I finished the Bible last night, and YouVersion gave me this big "Congratulations!" message, showing that I had completed the entire reading plan in a year. I thought when that day finally came, I would be elated. And I was happy... but I felt a little lost by it too. Like I was in space, tethered to a ship to keep me from floating away, and I just reached the end of that tether and let go. Now I'm floating in outer space. But I think a large part of that is because it coincides with this anniversary. Reading the Bible has tethered me to God through this year of grieving. And I don't know what to do without a tether. 

I'm staring down the barrel of Year 2, and I'm wondering if it's a tetherless year. I'm wondering if this is my year to find my feet again, to float back to earth and put my feet in the dirt. Or if something else will tether me safely.

I wanted to make this a positive post. I had these plans to tell you how I'm at peace. But even in peace, I'm finding there is still pain. They are not mutually exclusive. As Paul wrote in Philippians, "...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content." My circumstances will not determine my joy.

The last picture I took. She's singing the Spiderman song to me while we were snuggling in bed.

3 comments:

  1. As well as your blog is very inspiring, you having this reflexive thinking about such a painful memory is remarkable. Hugs from overseas.

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  2. I´m still amazed by your strength to talk about this. Her last day, your last memories with her. I think it´s part of the process to let the happy memories slip in, and the painful ones slowly fade out.

    I´m still struggling with my own feelings, but I´ve found that remembering and talking about him gives me some kind of comfort. I´m crushed, of course, but from time to time I remember his smile and I smile too. I guess that´s what I need to hold on to, the happiness we felt together. I´ve also realised something thay may seem pretty obvious, but I hadn´t seen until I lost him: he made me a better person, and I will take that with me forever.

    Kisses

    Mariana

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    Replies
    1. Mariana, if your experience is anything like mine, those bad memories will never disappear -- but they'll get less and less important next to the good memories. I still pray for you every day.

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