Spring break was a milestone for me. Abby went into the closet. She had spent the past one and a half years in our room. First, Abby slept beside my side of the bed. There she watched over us, collecting dust as our lives moved on. In the wake of the morning or just before going to bed, I would often look at her and wonder, I bet she would have liked that spot if she were still here. I would then take a few moments and greet her, dust her off, and place her back in her rightful location next to me. She did well there. But the time surely would come along when Abby had to find a new place. She was still in our room. I was not ready for her to leave my side. I just had to make room for some more stuff. Her new location was propped up high next to some Willow Tree angels. I was often humored by the irony. Here, in our room, she sat amongst angels just as she is doing up in Heaven. It was a great reminder to me that she was safe. But just like everyone else, life often runs away. And it did. Abby soon became weighted down with hours and days worth of dust. Life was moving too fast, and with that, I did not have the time to keep the layers of dirt from accumulating on her. It was just how things were going to be. Eventually, spring break neared. It had been 1.5 years since the Hello and Goodbye of our sweet baby girl. We had visitors staying at our house, and out of kindness, Jo Anna did not want to “scare” them with our baby girl sleeping in the same room as them. I am not sure everyone has the desire to see human ashes. And when the time came, right before we left for the week, Jo Anna made the daring step of moving Abby to the closet. And that is where she rests today.
I walk through each day with my chin held up and a smile on my face. Inside, I still mourn the loss of my baby girl. I am not emotionally bogged down. I am still able to function normally. The truth, though, I miss my baby girl. I am sure Jo Anna does too. I think it is the reality of losing someone you love. As my wife always says, “We never stop missing our baby girl, things just change. It is just different.” She is so wise. Mourning and grieving I now know never goes away. It just changes and molds into different shapes according to how life moves on.
So, for those of you at any stage of this journey, I want to encourage you. I can’t provide promises that the pain will go away and that there will be a time that you will stop missing the one you lost. I can promise you that with God’s grace, with His amazing ability to patch you up and carry you, and with His unconditional and unending love, you will make it. I leave you with this:
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. (Colossians 1:9-12 MSG)
In God’s Love,