Two times of the year rudely probe the tenderest spot of my heart. The month of January prompts anticipation of the anniversary date that my first child left this earth. Soon after, the month of March reminds me of her birth into this world. Somehow, the days leading up to her birthday are harder than the actual birthday for me. The anticipation of the special day she came into the world and changed my life forever when I was blessed to become her mother juxtaposed against the worst day I have ever survived when she passed both compress my chest, making my breaths shallow, causing me to pause and temporarily sit lost in memories and "what-if's." The wishful thoughts that she could be here with me, that she could see our family now, share in our jokes, laughter, and fun are wasted and woeful. Her time on earth is gone. So simple, so sad.
As I wait for her birthday to bring another year without her hugs, her joyful laughter, or long chats, a familiar lump swells my throat and I wonder about what type of relationships she would have with the girls, her little sisters. Although Marissa was only four when the girls last saw each other, Jaime loved and respected the little sister she resisted at first. After getting over some initial jealousy, Jaime met and fell in love with the sister she proclaimed to be, "the smartest baby alive!" Her other sister, Brooklyn, the one she never got to see, carries a dry wit that would have left Jaime challenged and in awe. I also mourn the relationship with her brother and nephew; I wish each of them could spend time together full of sibling play, laughter, and simple companionship. Just seeing everyone together would be so joyful.
Loss is Tricky
As I write the surface thoughts of my loss, I share not because I long to impart a lesson or deep thoughts to help others heal. The truth is that you don't get over child loss, but you can get through it. Today I am simply writing the words of a mother thinking of her precious and beautiful first child.
Sometimes I ponder how Jaime got the best and the worst of me.
Only 18 years old when I had her, she received the young, inexperienced mother who didn't know Jesus. Unsure of myself and the world, I was growing and maturing in every skill needed to be a mother. Instead of receiving an experienced mother devoted to growing her in the knowledge and wisdom of the Lord, she received a rookie; one just entering the game of motherhood and life.
Jaime was a beautiful girl with so many talents. We shared so much laughter, crazy jokes, and fun times that sometimes get forgotten if I only focus on the pain. On some levels, Jaime and I connected as a kindred spirit, on others we clashed and could not see eye to eye. But beneath it all was love. Deep love that always brought us back together. I miss that. The emotion that would carry us to each other despite forces that strove to pull us apart. They say love never dies. Yet when one you love beyond words is gone from this world, and you no longer feel their love in return; it seems like yet another death. I think that is one of the things we mourn when a loved one passes. Although our love continues on, unreciprocated love hurts. It is ripped from us with no chance of retaliation, for no mere mortal can fight death.
Loss Demands Choices
There is only one who holds power over death. Christ. I praise God that through the power of the Holy Spirit alive within me, I still live with deep joy. Even lives with extensive joy need moments to allow memories and loss to penetrate the levels of our affections. Emotions and feelings need room to breathe, similar to slipping on an old piece of clothing to allow yourself to feel memories or listening to music that transports you to another time in your mind. We aren't meant to languish in the moments, but to receive as a gift to wrap around us. Although our loved one is gone, we are not. It is good to feel.
We feel because we live. There is purpose hidden in that fact.
Whether we thrive or survive in this world, each day allows fresh opportunities to connect with and cherish the ones we still have. Somehow I've always understood that those around me deserve fullness of life and love from me. One death did not mean that I could vanish and deprive others from love. I am deeply thankful that God has hand-picked those I share my life with. We get to experience this world and all of the pain and joys together, bonding us more tightly with each other and with Him as we endure them together as a united force.
If you have loved and lost someone, I am deeply sorry. My heart beats sorrow and sharp pain for the love you still carry inside that can no longer be reciprocated. I'm so sorry for the love you lost. I understand that you can live with one foot here and one in Heaven. I pray each of us experience the fullness of both and never get stuck in between.
The Ultimate Choice
As I wrap myself in thoughts that bring pain and those that make me laugh as they joyfully tickle the fringes of my mind, tears may sting my eyes and heart. Sometimes I may want to sit and cry, to allow for the salty dampness to remind me that my daughter was once here. I can't see her, but I still feel her. I am forever grateful for the privilege of being Jaime's mother. I will never again be the young girl who blindly stepped into parenting and found myself along the way. That was a time only the two of us shared. Together, we both grew and loved, lived and learned. What a blessed gift she brought me, even though it ended far before I was ready to relinquish my duties. However, my sacred title still remains. Jaime's Mother. Just as my love remains.
When we have loved and lost deeply, we have two choices. One is to be bitter. To live in agony or despair. The other choice is to allow Christ to carry us through the loss and lift us into His arms.
If you are lost in pain and despair, I am praying for you. Through the anguish of deep loss, we have joined a club we never wanted into. Although I would switch membership at any opportunity, as I'm sure you would, I am grateful to have learned that I only thought I was living with eternal perspective before. Now I can truly say that I cherish every moment.
I know life is not guaranteed beyond the second we are experiencing. Loved ones are a privilege, not a guaranteed spot in our lives. Bad things happen. They will continue to occur. Make the most of the time you have here. Experience as much as you can with those you love. Reach out to others and let them know you care. Mature your walk with Christ. If you don't know Jesus, try. Seek Him. I promise that there is no depth of pain or need that He cannot fill. When I was at my most sorrowful, He cradled me like I had never felt before.
I believed I was already close to Jesus, but another veil was lifted and I clearly saw His intimate face.
I felt His breath. His chest beat against mine as He tenderly carried me each step of the way. He has never left. He will never leave you. Hold out your hand. If you already have, keep holding tight. He is faithful.
Jaime, I love you. I look forward to the day I wrap my arms around Jesus and look into His loving eyes. I just know you will be right behind Him. I've never forgotten your tight squeezes that assured me of your love. Jesus has carried me all these years. I can't wait to feel your arms around me and to place mine around you. You are beloved; never forgotten.