While packing things in my living room, I found several pictures that Jessica traced (which she loved to do!) and one coloring page that she colored. They all made me smile... but when I saw her glasses and picked them up it was completely different. These weren't even the last pair that she wore either. Maybe it's the fact that I rarely saw her beautiful face without her glasses on and the fact that her glasses are here and she isn't. I had been doing pretty well for a couple of weeks and then suddenly my grief hit me like ton of bricks. It caught me completely by surprise. I expect to miss her more around her birthday, angel day and on the holidays but this came on suddenly and without warning. I let my guard down and that's when it struck.
Grief is a fickle thing. It has a life of it's own. It can rear it's ugly head at any time. The only thing you can do is take it one day at a time. There is no timeline for it doesn't go by a calendar. "Time heals all wounds" is a myth. Time can help soften the pain but it won't fill that empty space in your heart. The only thing that will fill that hole is when we are with our loved ones again in heaven. Until then we must pace ourselves. We mustn't feel rushed to "get over it". We shouldn't listen to people who think we are "stuck in our grief".
I received some good advice from my uncle who buried his son 15 years ago. He said, "Fill your time doing good things." I love that. Doing my arts and crafts has been very therapeutic for me but since I started volunteering at the LDS Family History Center I have felt like I have a new purpose in life. I am serving others in a new way and it does my heart good to do so. I love being a wife and mother. I will always be those things.
It's been hard because for 22 years I was a caregiver to a specially-abled, medically fragile child. It took a lot of energy just to keep her alive and as free from pain as possible. She required so much emotional support that many nights I felt completely spent when I finally climbed into bed (many times as the sun was coming up). I do not regret putting my heart and soul into my CHD child and my other 3 children. I've lived to care for all 4 of them and love each of them with all my heart. The whole time I was growing up all I ever wanted to be was a wife & mother. I always wanted to have a lot of little children to play with and care for. Occasionally the thought of being an empty-nester entered my mind but I would quickly shove it away thinking that I would deal with it when it happened. I was fortunate that my beautiful girl was a "little girl" her whole life. She never knew the evils of the world. She was always innocent and as happy as she could be. Her world revolved around Barbies, fairy tales, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Pokemon. The worst thing she could think of that someone could do was smoking. She knew smoking was bad. She brought joy to everyone around her and radiated love. Suddenly all of that magic came to an end. I wasn't "Jessica's Mom" anymore. I wasn't a caregiver of a special-needs child anymore either. I had retired from the hardest - yet best- job in the world. And I retired in the worst way - by the death of my child.