We passed one year since Lydia died. It passed quietly, except for the twenty minutes I spent hysterical because the flowers we bought to put at her grave ended up being hideous. It is the only thing I can give her now and they were hideous. It caused a fairly substantial meltdown, but then the day was quiet. Micah and I spent the day together, watching the video of Lydia’s memorial service, the slideshow we made, videos of her. It was sad and difficult but it was OK. We made it through.
Then, not magically or with any fanfare, but slowly and quietly these past days, I’ve felt something lift. It’s not a lot, but the heaviness feels just a little lighter. We made it through one year. We’ll be able to make it through another.
I feel like I’m finally settling into a place of comfort with my grief. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian has a burden he carries around. By the grace of God that burden falls away when he comes to the cross. I thank God that burden of death is taken away when I look to the cross, but I know that as long as I live I will carry this other burden of grief. When Lydia first died, it was heavy and cumbersome and back-breaking. Now, it’s lighter and easier to carry as I’ve become more familiar with it. I know (at least I hope) that as we move forward it will get lighter and easier, but I don’t think it will ever not be there. Maybe it will get to be a mostly empty backpack slung across my shoulders, or maybe it will be a little wallet that only comes out with me on some days, but it will always be there. I’m understanding that now. I feel like I’m finally learning to live my life carrying this grief with me. And praise Jesus He is there to help me carry it, no matter the weight. How I long for the day when I come to my true home and cast it off forever.
But until then, I will carry on. I will think of her every day and be thankful. I will wish that she was with us wherever we go. I will write her name in the sand on a beach where I wish I could have seen her running around collecting rocks on Mother’s Day. I will let my heart rejoice in the prospect of new things and new life on this earth, but even more I will rejoice that there is a Savior and a heaven and a sweet little girl who wait for me when my days on this earth are done.