Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How I Am

People have been asking.

We’re twenty-two days away from the anniversary of Lydia’s death. I think anyone who is grieving a loved one will tell you that the anticipation of days like birthdays or anniversaries are often worse than the days themselves. This has been true of me as we’ve walked through the past 343 days.

I’ve been trying to explain to people why (beside the obvious) I’m having such a difficult time with this day. I think I’ve figured it out. Since the day she died, I’ve been trying so hard not to think about the day she died. It would be far too easy to play it over and over and over in my head. But if I had allowed myself to do that, I don’t think I would have lasted long. Reliving her death day would only bring another kind of death.

So, I put it away. That day and the day we buried her, I put those days away. They’re always there, kind of sadly waving at me from the dark corners of my heart. I look, wave back and keep my distance. But now, they’re coming close. The closer they get the more I can see into them. I see the last things and the empty where there was so much fullness before. I see goodbyes and and quiet that nearly kills.

And I am afraid. I wish that I wasn’t and it’s all well and good to say that I shouldn’t be, but I am. I’m afraid of barely healed wounds being torn open again and of desperate doubt growing again in places that I’ve only recently weeded it out.

And I’m sad. A year is no time and so much time. We’ve barely begun life without our girl but every day is one day further away from our life together. My memories are less vivid now than they were and I will sit and watch video after video of her to remember more clearly how she turned her head to look at me or the sound of her little gaspy breaths.

I just want the 28th to come and go so I can look and say, “I made it through a year. I can make it through another one.”

In these days, I’m so thankful for moments of hope. I do not think it is coincidence that made Lydia’s death day and Easter fall within less than a week of each other this year. Easter is another day I’m eager to get past but the proximity will not let me ignore this one thing: Because He lives, so does she. All of the memories that I’ve been trying to keep at bay, the agony of letting her go and carrying on without her - this is not the end of her story.

And it isn’t the end of mine. There is life for me. There is life for Micah. And hopefully our lives will mean life for someone else. I have hope that our arms will not be empty forever. I have hope that all this love we have to give is not for nothing. And even if these things never come to be, I can still have hope because He is alive.

Unfortunately, staring down this month, hope isn't always my first response. If you think of it, please pray that the hope would make its way through the fear, that a light would shine in the dark places and that as we approach this death day, we hold on to the promise of the life she has with Him.


  1. Hope is the word I've attached myself to for the past few months. I've hung it in my house, around my wrist, and everywhere I look. A reminder that there is more to life than just these monents. And it is hope, peace, love and any measure of comfort knowing how beloved your Lydia was and is that I wish upon your heart as the 28th draws near. Anything you need, you got it.

  2. Jen, You are in our prayers. I just stopped and prayed for you and Micah. Thanks for sharing your heart. Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you.

  3. "Because He does she." So true, and so beautiful. Thank you for that reminder. "But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalm 3:3". Praying that He lifts up your head this month.

  4. I pray for Hope as hard as I can Jen, for you and Micah. I pray it gets you through the 28th, and there may be break downs, but hope will be there to lift you up and bring you back. And so will the wonderful and love filled memories you have of your sweet Lydia! Always in my heart:)

  5. In the Jewish tradition, the anniversary of a death is an important time - we traditionally go to the gravesite for an "unveiling" ceremony (in which the headsone, which is covered with a cloth, is "unveiled") and prayers are recited. On every subsequent anniversary, a memorail candle is lit and a prayer called the Mourner's Kaddish is said. It's a bittersweet time, but it honors our loved one's memory.