I’ve thought long and hard about this post. Should I, shouldn’t I? Does anyone else really care to hear it? A phone call from a sweet friend this morning brought a rush of emotions, feelings, memories. I justify all the time that this blog is also our family journal. After over a week of turning over everything, I’ve decided to go ahead and write it. Feel free to skip it.
It’s been one year. It’s been one year since my world was turned upside down. It’s been one year since I looked at the tiniest toes I’ve ever seen. It’s been one year since I felt grief so great I just wanted to curl up in a ball. It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since I finally got to see our daughter’s face and immediately say good bye.
In the days that followed, I found hope again pretty quickly. Hope for a future that I imagined. That imagined future, was not God’s plan. As hard as it was for me to accept, I’ve moved on. Instead of worrying so much about the future or grieving over the past, I try to enjoy the present that I have. Some days I do a better job than others. Some days I do a down right lousy job, when I hear Arleigh and Hanan giggling and Bria is in her room alone. When I think about Arleigh and Hanan in college and Bria at home, just finishing up junior high, alone. Some days I just miss the fact that there is not a 6 month old learning to sit up in the middle of the chaos that is our home. Those days, I have to stop and be grateful for each individual girl and concentrate on what they need for the moment.
This week has been hard. Arleigh and Hanan asked if we would have a birthday party for Jessa. They asked that sweet innocent question just when I needed them to ask. I needed to know that someone remembers the little girl we let go. They talked about how cool it would be to have parties for Jessa and Bria in the same week, never realizing Jessa should have a birthday in Feb. or March, not October.
Since late June, I’ve been thinking about Jessa even more than usual. It started with “this time last year,” I was finding out I was pregnant. “This time last year,” Jessa was still with us. That family picture at the Biltmore felt complete. Jessa was there whether she knew it or not. Things like that ran through my mind at odd moments. I started to dread the start of Oct. I wanted to just mark it off the calendar. I thought I was finally getting a handle on the grief and it was all getting dug up in front of me. Jessa is the big pink elephant in our home. No one mentions her but everyone is aware of her probably because I wasn’t dealing with things very well.
I haven’t been all that nice or accommodating to my friends. Everyone is going through something. People are moving, people are staying, people are pregnant, people couldn’t get pregnant, people are getting out of the navy, people are staying in, people are having a hard time with their jobs and co-workers, people are making big life decisions, some kids are healthy, some kids are sick, some kids have a diagnosis that they will live with forever, some kids will be well in a week. I haven’t been kind or caring to anyone else because my grief felt bigger than everything everyone else is going through, even though it’s not. If you were one of the those people who needed me and I was absent, I’m sorry. I’m back. I’m here. I’m present. I hope I didn’t make it too late.
October 10th haunted me for four months on the calendar. Oct. 10th came and went very little excitement. It was a normal day with drop offs for birthday parties, sleepovers and working on the house. It really wasn’t different from any other day. I got through it. Oct. 10th will probably haunt me forever. I’ll still be sad. It doesn’t just go away. I’m still sad that my dad can’t grab the girls and throw them in the air. I’ve come to the realization that it doesn’t matter how sad I am, they will have an eternity with him. I just have to wait it out. Even if I am sad there is enough here in the moment to be happy about.
No, I’m not convinced that our family is full. I’m not convinced that we don’t have room for one more. The only thing that I’m convinced about is the fact that we won’t be having a biological child. There will never anyone or anything that could replace Jessa. I do think there are blessings in the moment and instead of grieving I’m doing my best to look for those.
This post is a bit discombobulated. (I can’t believe spell check didn’t grab that word, makes me giggle that I’m smarter than I thought.) I’m not very good at memorizing scripture. They are usually short when I pick them. The last year, one verse has been on my heart. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” – James 1:2-3 Joy was Jessa’s middle name. Knowing the outcome would be the same, I would do it all over again for those four months with her.