Monday, October 29, 2012

To Have Loved and Lost

Today, on the fourteenth anniversary of THE  terrible, horrible no good, very bad day, I took my grief out of the mothballs in the closet.  Giving it a good shake to remove the cobwebs, I held it up to the sun and inspected it.  Considering how often it has been used and abused over the past fourteen years,  it is in remarkably good condition.   

Through the years I have used it less and less.   But on October 29th each year, the memories come rushing back like a tidal wave.  And no matter how much I think  that time should have built up the sandbags high enough to protect my heart, the waves of grief sweep over me once again, drawing me down into the depths of despair.  

 Often it strikes suddenly and without warning.  One minute I am driving in the car and the next I am swept down into a deep, dark place that is the memory of the unimaginable pain of losing a child through a failed adoption.  It is as if time stands still, and I am transported back to the moment I placed her last bag into the car and watched her drive away from me forever.   

And then suddenly I am back to reality, I can breathe again, the imaginary carving knife is removed from my chest and life goes on.  But I am left feeling as if the wind has been knocked from my body.  The world is gray.  Nothing tastes good.  Colors are subdued.   

As I continue working, I accomplish the tasks before me.  A phone is picked up, a question answered, an appointment set, and an email sent.  But all the time, I am bracing myself for the next assault.  For I know it will come as sure as the sun will rise each day.  

And then again without warning, another flashback to a house packed in the U-haul leaving the house dark and empty and the tears that came until late into the night.   When you have wept longer and harder than you ever thought possible, you lay on the floor limp and lifeless as a rag doll, hoping the ground will open and swallow you whole.  But that is not the way life or Heavenly Father works.  Instead you are given a chance to stretch and grow from the pain and to feel the comfort that only the Savior can offer.   

And suddenly it is time to fix dinner and pick up kids and do the things that mothers do.  Eventually the evening is over and the day, THE DREADED DAY, comes to a close.  But before I go to bed, I sit quietly in my rocking chair with that grief that is as familiar to me as my favorite pair of jeans or worn out quilt.  Rocking back and forth, as if to soothe that grief back to sleep.

  And as I rock that grief, I sing softly that eventually, all will be right.   That perhaps someday the pain will fade to a bearable level.  All the time knowing if that day were to come, I would feel that diminished pain to be a betrayal, and so I would never let it happen. 

 My grief and I, we have spent some special bonding time together through the years and today, and I am ready to place it back in the closet for another year.  Life will go on.  I will laugh and and I will smile and sometimes even cry.  Rationally I know that enjoying my life today does not mean I loved her any less.  

 But somehow, I will be forever changed by the fact that I loved and lost.  And perhaps it is OK, because I have grown used to this person I have become.  The one that keeps a special piece of my heart locked up and set aside for a blue eyed, blonde haired three year old little girl, who is now seventeen.   

We will be forever connected she and I, by an invisible thread, and someday, if not in this life, then the next, we will meet again.  And it is the joy of that day that I must cling to like a life preserver as I swim to shore out of the chilly, crippling depths of despair.

Until next year, my friend.  See ya, next year.


Heidi said...

Oh, my goodness! How heartbreaking! I am so sorry for your loss, as old as it is. I suspect it will never completely go away, the pain of it, but it sounds like you are doing an awesome job of coming to terms with it. Hugs!

Smart Helm said...

The problem with anniversaries is that they come around every. Single. Year. Thinking of you :)

Allison Barnes said...

I am so sorry my friend. What a terrible thing. This just happened to a young couple in our ward. The mother picked them, they went to dr. apts with her, at the delivery, had her for a few days and all of a sudden the father came in the picture and wanted the baby. They kept her for a month not knowing if she would get to stay and then at the hearing, the judge gave her to her dead beat father. SO SAD!!! I should introduce you. I bet she would love to talk to you about it.

I am sure you will meet your little girl again someday!!

Kris said...

Oh Pat, COL, Cry out loud. I am so sorry you lost her.

Emily said...

Found you via mormon mommy blogs.

This absolutely broke my heart. I am so so sorry. Snuggling my new baby crying tears at my computer...