A few weeks back marked a year since our Charlotte went to be with the Lord. Steve and I were just talking the other day about how sometimes it seems like it was only last week and other times it feels like it never happened. I wish I had something profound to say about living with grief, about some huge things I learned over the past year. I don't. I think grief is one of those things that we won't ever be able to fully put our heads around and explain in a pattern. Grief is unpredictable. One minute you are fine and the next it hits you like you just got run over by a semi and you don't know which way is up.
The week leading up to her death anniversary was really rough. It seemed we had challenges all around. In my mind, I knew Saturday, February 8 was coming quickly. I was worried about how I would respond with the one year anniversary of our loss. That made me super sensitive (like I wasn't already sensitive after having a baby 6 weeks earlier :) and on edge. To make matters a bit more difficult, February 8 is also Leah's birthday. I was worried about making her day special, especially since her birthday last year was so dark. I, also, was worried about how I could manage celebration along with grief and mourning.
When I woke up that morning, I was like, here we go. I took time that morning to sit down and write for a bit. I am so thankful for being able to write. Writing has proved to be healing in so many ways this past year (but that is a whole other post).
As I showered that morning, it all hit me and I broke down. I felt loss, anger, guilt. So many emotions at one time. I wanted to mourn, but I also wanted to make the day special for Leah and I felt I didn't know how to do both. I can now look back and see that the Lord met me in those moments and He gave me strength to face the day. Once again, I am blown away by his grace, something I so don't deserve and something I could never do on my own.
Steve and I had already made plans to visit the cemetery with the kids and take pink roses. The kids haven't been there since her funeral last year and Steve and I have only been once. We finally had her headstone installed in October and we hadn't even seen it yet. It was snowing and it was so beautiful out. We were thankful for the cemetery we chose. It is in the country, backed up to the woods and oh, so beautiful. We had to tromp through the snow to get to her grave. All I can say is that it was beautiful. I had no tears (I got those out earlier). It was just a special time with the kids.
Then we got on with the rest of our day. Leah was so gracious. I truly believe she enjoyed her special day to the fullest.
I am so thankful for God's graciousness that day.