3 Years Without My Daughter

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Letting go of his balloon too soon...and watching it float. 

And....doing it again.

And  his silly parents just kept giving him more.

Papa Bice sharing some thoughts. 

Saying goodbye again and again. I never stop saying goodbye. 

Making wishes. 

One of Lucy's neighbors. 

I've always loved the symbolism of this little passageway located not far from where Lucy is buried. I feel like I constantly stand on the threshold between both worlds. My heart in one and the heavy living I do in the other. I wish I could go back and forth between both worlds this easily. I find it exhausting living in two places at the same time, but I haven't found another way to do it. 

After the cemetery we went to the Towery's home for dinner and pillowcase making. (To be donated to Primary Children's Medical Center). Jenny Towery was the Relief Society President when Lucy passed away. At the time of Lucy's passing, I had no idea how much Jenny had dealt with death. Her parents, the Birkenshaws, have buried three children and these two amazing boys in this photo will pass away, making it 4 and 5 children they will bury. 5 of the 8 Birkenshaw children were born with a very rare genetic disorder called Wolfram Syndrome. 

I was blown away at these boys, Danny and Andy, and their solid yet tender spirits. Just being in their presence brought me to tears. Not because I felt sorry for them and their condition, but hearing the way they spoke of mortality and life, blessings and lessons, the things that make them happy, and the everyday challenges they face.  I was extremely humbled to be in the presence of such greatness. It was a nice way to end such a difficult day with quality human beings like this. 

Switching gears and talking about how I've been feeling and not just what we've been doing--

While at the cemetery, my mother-in-law asked a question:

"What have you learned?"

A lump came in my throat and I think I offered a sarcastic and short answer. But her question stuck with me. I've blogged all these years about what I have been learning. And I'm learning new things all the time. What I think I know one day, changes the next. It touched me that she would ask a leading question that lends itself to openness and vulnerability and opens the door to a difficult and sensitive subject. (OUR LIVES). I wasn't in the right mind to answer it honestly at the time, but I do so now:

What I know now, and what I am learning is not easy to swallow. I have learned that this trauma and this missing is a gigantic mental battle for me. Gigantic. Gigantic. Gigantic. Lately, I am stunned at what a toll it has taken on me mentally. 
I am stunned at the repercussions and lingering sorrow three years later. I am learning that time does not heal all wounds. I have learned I will always miss her, no matter how happy I feel. I have learned I will never feel whole. I have learned that I can live on little sleep. I have learned that I feel so very fragile--like I'm being held together with Scotch tape and could come apart at any given moment. I have learned to keep this in a quiet place inside of me and that is OK, but I have to man up and be cautious of comparing my life to others. I have learned that people are good and people care, even if they don't know what to do or say and I have to trust that. I have learned what a deeply personal trial this actually is despite it being very public.  I've learned it is difficult for me to let go. It is difficult for me to not resent people who haven't lost a child and who can sleep. Very difficult. 

I've learned parenthood is the hardest thing anyone can ever do in mortality. The very hardest. 

I have learned how powerful fear is and how slippery hope is. 

I've learned that I'm amazed the world keeps turning. Aren't you? With all the heartache and suffering it is astonishing that any of us get out of bed in the morning, yet we do. I've learned that's incredible. And I believe most of us are trying to do our best. 

I live my life with a scratched record repeating over and over, "I can't believe my daughter died, I can't believe my daughter died."

And I'm not in the mood for pep talks. 

I may change my tune tomorrow, but this is how it stands. I told you I'm feisty. 


  1. "I have learned how powerful fear is and how slippery hope is."

    These words strike a harsh chord inside of me that resonate as very true for all my own reasons. A harsh truth of mortality I guess.

  2. Beautiful post. Thank you for being so real. My daughter died shortly after birth, but we knew for some 4 months before she was born. Our stories are different, but i think we share some of the same feelings. It's amazing what children can teach us, the things we notice now as compared to before.
    A friend of mine said that it's not that Heavenly Father doesn't give us more than we can handle, it's that we are given a reason to rely on Him to get through.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful Lucy with the world. I enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Wow... I really feel the same way as you in this post. It's only been about 8 months, but some days I feel like I'm getting worse and there's no hope. I've been so resentful lately, so bitter, and angry. I get so angry at my husband sometimes for having us sit right next to a family with a baby.. I can't stand it. A lot of my friends are now "enemies" to me. I don't even want to look at them. I say to myself.. "man this is hard, but at least I'm still attending church!" One of my friends wrote me a message shortly after my son died saying, "I can't lock my baby in a closet and hide her from the world, I love my baby...." At the time, I thought... "Okay, duh, yeah I get it, of course! I never even asked you to do that!..." But now I hate that comment and think, "All you had to say is I'm so sorry for this terrible loss!" Okay I sound way worse than you (I'm not like this every day!!) I think what is hard is having such a good day, or even good week, and then it just hits me again, and I get upset that "it's still there! How could all the pain still be there!"... well of course it is!

  4. I believe with all my heart that being a parent is THE very hardest thing to do. I also know that nevering having children (or one that survived to birth) is just as hard. Being a mother without a child is also the very hardest thing in mortality. I've learned that though our situations are completely different, they are so similar that we can understand each other's pain. I'm glad of that. I'm glad you are feisty. And I'm glad that I learn and heal through knowing of your experiences. You are an advocate and a missionary. And I sense that you are a survivor, but that you will not only survive, but you will flourish...when it's time, and in your own way. And lastly, and I know this from experience... being happy in no way betrays Lucy.
    Sending you love and prayers!!!

  5. Thank you for your profound honesty. I am amazed the world keeps turning. I look to people who have suffered great loss and write about it to find the truth of life. Sometimes I think in the early 1900's we dealt with death and loss in general better than we do now. Not that we HANDLED it better, but our attitude and the words we put around it were true and real and profound and if there is any solace in hard things it is when those hard things are said as they are, out loud, and someone nods, like yes, that is exactly it, and they look you in the eye and take your hand, and you can feel that another human being is understanding what utter BULLSHIT and the UNFAIRNESS that suffering and death is, all kinds of death, and then you look up at a tree and you hear the wind and there is a quiet and you can feel the crying out of the whole world and nature's even pulse underneath and perhaps that truth is the only thing. i respect you so much Molly for your honesty. because it's hard to be honest when people are waiting for an 'and now....' or ' and then...' and you are saying, no, here i am, with the same disbelief.

    that is way to long. my mother's heart, to yours.

  6. Thank you for not putting a bandaid on it so the rest of us don't feel so uncomfortable. Isn't that why we hide what we are really feeling from most of the world. I have struggled with not comparing and my own version of resentment due to infertility. I know how that feels.

  7. its such a great idea with the balloons. it will be 3 years since my son die in January and i would like to do that for him as well :)

  8. I can't comprehend your pain.

    I pray I never have to.

    I'm sad that you do.

  9. "I have learned how powerful fear is and how slippery hope is. "

    Molly, you write beautifully. I really have no powerful words. You are right. Right to be tired. Right to be afraid. Right to be angry. Right that time is a bitter salve for a wound that cannot possibly heal. You are right. And I am so sorry.

    I have always been told by parents in your place that simple and honest words like I am sorry are best. I so pray it is true. I will tell you this though dear one, you and Vic and that little rascally marshmallow Peter are prayed for daily. God please let that be enough!

  10. I have never commented before but I have been reading for awhile.
    Someone has probably said this to you before but just in case I thought I would share. This is a dialogue from the movie Rabbit Hole. It really stood out to me. The mother (becca) had lost her three year old boy in a tragic accident and she is speaking to her mother (nat) who lost a son as well- he was a drug addict and overdosed at 30.

    Becca: Does it ever go away?
    Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
    Becca: How?
    Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful - not all the time. It's kinda...
    [deep breath]
    Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...
    Becca: Which is what?
    Nat: Fine, actually.

  11. Can't believe it's been 3 years! Ugh. Your path is not one you probably would have chosen but your openness has probably helped so many people! I agree that archway is so interesting. I think the lamps is an interesting adornment near the top - makes you think about the parable of the virgins... will we have oil in our lamps when it's time for us to enter through that doorway??? Thanks for sharing this experience... I've learned so much!

  12. Right after Lucy died, the sorrow and grief we felt, anger too, it was awful and huge and consuming. But I wanted to hold onto it because I knew that it would pass for us, living hundreds of miles away, we would go back to "life". Changed yes, but the weight that we see you and Vic carry for a small amount of time it felt like we felt a portion of it too. But we knew it would ease up. And I felt horrible about that too. But what I wonder and hope for is that there is some comfort to you in those who stand by you... I don't know- that maybe being witnessing your pain and acknowledging... maybe makes you feel less... crazy? alone? lightens the load in any way like shifting the weight around that you carry?

    I have often wondered about another who suffered and wanted it to be witnessed and why.

    We love you Vic and Molly (and Lucy and Peter).

  13. It is OH SO HARD to not resent people who don't know what it is to lose a child. This is why I check in on your blog. It's nice to read the words of someone who knows.

    I struggle with people who complain about their ultrasound--finding out their child is not the sex they wanted. Oh, boo-hoo. Sometimes I want to scream at them. I want to shake my fist in their faces. I want to tell them at my first ultrasound with my first baby I found out she would likely die not long after birth. I want to force them to be grateful for their healthy little ones.

    I don't, though. I keep my mouth closed, or say something short and sweet.

    I read this recently:

    "Mama told me it takes time, a long time to get over the loss of a child. But I don't want to get over it, I want to turn back the calendar to when it never happened and all the future is sunny. I used to complain to myself that life was so boring, that there was too much laundry to do, too many noses to wipe. Now there are not enough noses to wipe."

    ~ These Is My Words by, Nancy E. Turner

  14. No pep talk from me.
    Just sadness thinking about your loss...


  15. my prayers are with your family.

  16. Thanks you for your words. Being in the depths of a few trials at the moment it is nice to realize others get it. I miss my baby girl every day. You inspire me to reach beyond myself!!

  17. I always carry around a feeling of sacred sorrow in my heart for you, Vic & Molly. I cried for you today, I love you, and I am proud of you.

  18. Yes, yes, yes, YES! If I get one more pep talk, I think I will seriously puke. Okay. Maybe not. I should be grateful people care so much, right? But, I do understand what you are saying. And thank you for saying it so well.

  19. I don't have anything super eloquent to say or anything that will make any of your pain go away, but I want to let you know how deeply DEEPLY touched I continue to be through your story. I have been following your blog now for almost 3 years, and while I can by no means relate to what you are going through, I feel so close just by reading your words. I have wept for you and your family more times than I can say. I wish I could bring her back for you. No mother should ever have to go through that. Hugs!

  20. You put into words exactly how I would feel if I were in your shoes. Keep being feisty and writing honestly. It's one of your greatest strengths and I admire it. I just want you to know that my heart has never been the same since I started reading your blog. Keep doing what you're doing.


  21. I have been reading for a while but this is my first comment i saw this article on a friends blog. I thought it was beautiful. http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Feb-26-Sun-2006/living/5987837.html

  22. oh how I hear you about what you have learned. can we just always be friends?


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