I always forget to plan a day in bed. And all I want to do is be in bed.
I’m wrapped up in a huge chunky scarf and wrapped in a sweater and my shoes are still on and tied and I’m curled up in a ball on the couch. All I have to do is keep pushing play on the Sofia the Princess marathon and my sweet toddler girl will stay happy. She climbs on and off me, brings me snacks to open. She tries to be magical, but I have a hard time being mama today. This is survival mode. I try to stay awake, and try not to think too much.
After four years, you guys, the grief is still powerful. I will say it doesn’t hit me in the middle of a regular week or wake me up at night anymore. But this week has been really hard. Today, Mabel’s birthday, is the easiest of these three hard days.
The first day I hit up against, is a hard hit. It’s the day she died. That day is so, so dark. I shared this on Instagram at the exact time of day we heard the news back on that day:
Then there is this weird, eerily quiet in-between day. We don’t know what to do with ourselves, we are sad, I am sad. I can’t move on yet because her birthday is coming next.
And then her birthday is the last day (for why it was on the third day and not the first day, read here). It wasn’t an easy day, but this day had beauty. It had peace and, yes, that third day brought a resurrection of sorts.
After the blackest of days, when it seemed the pitch of my womb was absolutely endless darkness, and then the quiet of the grave on the second day, and then the third day of light and hope and meeting our baby and saying goodbye on the same day. It was a long 3 days just like it was this week four years later.
And that resurrection I mentioned – it was mine. That day I birthed Mabel was the day a new me was birthed. A cataclysmic event that precipitated huge growth, life changing healing and redemption, a soul salvation, that is still rolling on today. Each year that I cross this threshold of what we went through when we lost our baby girl – I am a different person. I experience it differently every time, and even this year was harder than last year (when I expected it to be less so).
The hard thing about grief is that, while it’s not necessarily without hope – the hope you find amidst your grief can’t take away the pain. You can only get rid of the pain by going through it. Not by stuffing it down or by sitting down in the place you are in and staying there. Straight through it, machete in hand, I chop away at all the things in my face and in my path that don’t need to be there. I go straight through that pain and I find paradise on the other side. I’m chopping away at times I withhold grace, at times I have held onto anger, at the times I make what is about me, about someone else. I tear it all down so that the only thing left is me and God and wherever he wants me to go. Whatever he wants me to do. Whatever he wants me to say. The other side of that jungle path is peace. A deep peace, not a “I have all the answers now”, kind of peace. Just a peace of right here and now.
And then the next day I press in and find my paradise again. All I have is each moment and each day.
So today we feel the relief of a new beginning. Mabel’s birthday is heavy but smells a little bit like roses and pink donuts. We light candles and remember and blow them out. This year we let River blow them all out (trick candles, so we got to laugh at her a long time). This is our New Year’s Eve.
My 9 year old told me today that he shared with a friend at school about Mabel. He said, “I would have two sisters, but one died when she was trying to be born.” His friend, taken aback a bit asked if he was ok. He replied, “it’s been hard, but I’m ok.”
It’s been hard, but we are ok.