I have had a difficult week.
After Emilie’s death there were immediate and challenging realities that I had no choice but to deal with. My daughter being gone was alone challenging enough. But there were some things I could initially “put away” for the time being and only take on the emotional necessities for a while. The one reality that I have been dreading the most this last year has been the idea of watching Madeline and Samantha pass their older sister in age and experience. So obviously, six has become a difficult number for me. Six was the number of candles Emilie blew out on her last birthday here on Earth. And the reality is, Madeline will now be surpassing the life her older sister had. She will now be the one to experience new stages “first”. Madeline will be the first to lose a tooth, to drive, to go to college… and Emilie will not.
I had not anticipated the pain I would experience being so close to Emilie’s grave here in Utah. For some people, visiting the grave of a loved one is a helpful tool for their grief. For me, it is really really difficult. Living in Connecticut, I was able to feel close to Emilie spiritually. That connection is peaceful and up lifting. But her grave, for me, is not. It’s cold. It’s harsh. It’s a physical reminder of the day we lost her. That sweet body that I had been blessed to feel grow inside of me… the very thought of it being in a cemetery angers me. Her six year old body. Every day this last week I have had to drive past it and every day I have to fight this powerful rage. I hadn’t expected this at all.
Madeline’s sixth birthday this week was something to celebrate. Madeline is a beautiful, smart and complex little girl and I love her dearly. It was important for me to celebrate her life and at the same time allow myself to feel the pain and sadness a grieving parent feels simultaneously. I can’t suppress the pain, it is the reality of my new life. So I have to learn to feel joy along with it.
Madeline had requested a Frozen birthday party and Robbie and I tried our hardest to make it as fun for her as possible. I have learned to focus my thoughts on difficult days and to stay very present and in the moment. To not let my mind wander and to only think about the smiles and laughter around me. It isn’t always easy, but I find that it does help.
I have come to realize that suppressing my emotions only leads me down a dark depression that is difficult to escape. I have to own my emotions. I feel it all (and usually all at once) and then let it go. I had a difficult week. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. But, I also got to see this…
and to celebrate with family…