Thursday, July 23, 2015

Four Years

After a restless night my eyes fluttered open.  The ceiling fan cast a weird shadow of a masked skiier across the ceiling.  My muscles were sore and my eyelids felt like lead.  My mind felt fuzzy and I began trying to sift through the fuzz to grab onto the clear thoughts.  What was wrong?  Why was it that the second my eyes opened I felt things were wrong?  There.  That was the thought that provided clarity.  Something was wrong.  What could possibly be wrong in the two seconds that I had opened my eyes?  Oh yeah.  My daughter was dead.

It was like an episode of Groundhogs Day.  Every morning I'd experience the same thing over and over.  

After a restless night I'd wake up to a feeling of heaviness and gloom and then realize the nightmares of my dreams were not nightmares but in fact reality.  She had died.  I was living this.  

My eyes would close and I'd sift once again through the fuzz and grab onto the other clear thoughts.  My other three children were happy and safe.  My husband was near--he loved me.  I was alive and healthy.  Clinging to these thoughts I'd roll over, lift my sore body off the bed and place my feet on the ground.  

That was the beginning.  

People have asked how I got through those days.  That is how I got through it.  I clung to the clear thoughts and put my feet on the ground.  For me, that was a representation of my faith.  The fuzz was still in my brain.  My body still hurt.  My eyes still felt like lead.  Things were still wrong.  

But my feet were on the floor.  

Placing my feet on the floor wasn't always easy.  It would have been easier to close my eyes again and roll back over in bed but I felt if I put my feet on the floor I was showing the Lord that I wanted His help.  I faithfully put my feet on the floor and allowed Him to give me whatever divine help He had to offer.  And truthfully, I think even that small action of placing my feet on the floor required divine help.  

Yesterday my eyes fluttered open.  I looked over and Mike was already up showering.  I rolled over and my body felt heavy.  My eyelids felt like lead and I closed them again.  My mind registered a familiar gloom and I began going through the fuzz.  What is wrong?  This is the week that she died four years ago.  

I have heard that our bodies can remember past trauma and actually respond physically to those memories before our minds even register them.  Of course, I hadn't actually forgotten what this week was.  It's been on my radar for weeks.  I never actually forget.  Yet, I don't live my day to day life focusing or thinking about this week.  I think I actually try to forget it.  I try to repress the flashbacks and the memories.  Yet here I was, waking up, my eyes swelling with tears at the slightest thing.  

I got in the shower and remembered the night before Laila died.  We went to the park and I held her warm body close to me with the aid of the baby wrap so my arms could be free.  That night my world seemed right and the path I was on seemed happy. 

I can confidently say that since that time I feel as though my feet were able to tread a new happy, right path.  I feel like I was able to show myself and God that I could be trusted to find happiness and peace on whatever path I'd find myself on.  That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes have flashbacks of that perfect night in the park with my breathing baby sucking on her fingers while her brothers dug trenches in the sand with their cousins and their dad snapped pictures while holding onto the leash attached to our dog Diamond.  In that moment life was good and happy and I innocently had no clue that my life would change in an instant the following day.  Just because I am happy now doesn't mean I don't sometimes grieve for the days before all the tears and sorrow.  I won't make a list of all the lessons I've learned and the ways my relationships have grown and my character has changed, but I appreciate them and feel thankful that my experiences have allowed me to grow.  Even then, I still sometimes long to be back to that perfect night where I was blissfully unaware of all I know now.

All this flashed through my head and I found the tears falling only to hear a little voice on the other side of the curtain asking, "Mommy, you crying?  You sad?"  I responded, "Yes.  I am sad."  She asked, "You have an owie?" "I guess you could say that.  My heart has an owie."  She was quiet and I finished my shower in silence.  When I turned off the water and opened the curtain I looked down to see Piper looking up at me with concerned eyes.  She asked again, "Why are you sad?"  I said with tears in my eyes, "Your sister died and I miss her."  Her eyes welled up with tears and her lips began to quiver, "But my sister will come back, Mommy."  

She will come back.  

“The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings.”  --Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

The night before she passed away

1 comment:

Mommo said...

What wonderful words to hear from Piper. It makes one wonder if Laila sat with her before she came to earth and asked her to send a little reminder that she is not gone forever. God is good