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.
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.