“Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison
After the death of a child I think every parents worst fear is that their child will be forgotten. That the baby that they have spent months preparing for, nurturing, and anticipating life withs name will someday no longer be spoken.
I was terrified of that.
As the days, months, and now year has gone by I have struggled with what others would remember…what I would remember. I have felt scared and even guilty as the memories of every thigh crease and ear lobe dimple have begun to fade. When life with Audrey seems less like a foggy memory and more like a dream. As time continues to pass I feel an internal battle within myself as I try so desperately to hold on to everything and anything I can that reminds me of her, and as some things begin to slip from my mind and time tries to separate us, I can’t help but panic the further away I get from my baby girl.
Death has a way of chewing you up and spitting you out a different person then you ever were before. The sting of death introduces you to a whole new world of fears and insecurities you never imagined. The fear that there is a possibility that your childrens lives could be ripped away at any moment….that the horrible things you read about in newspapers or see flash across your television screen could happen to you, and that you could very well be a part of that minority statistic that you never imagined.
One year ago today out of complete hopelessness and fear from Audreys death, Tutu Soon was born. Healing began as I put every fear, tear, and guilt in to words. Fears diminished as I was able to stop explaining to people over and over what I was feeling because they already knew. Most importantly my heart beamed with pride knowing that people I knew, and people I didn’t….people from near, and people from afar, all came along on this journey with me and would read about how much joy and blessings Audrey had brought in to my life.
Upon approaching the one year anniversary of her death I began to think about what it meant to me to get through the first year. I wondered if people would stop reading, stop listening, I questioned if the repetitiveness of my emotions would become harder to read, that time would cause my sweet sweet girl to no longer be read about, talked about..
Then last night as I spent the day with my family at the beach, as I argued with my husband when he took too much time driving home the long scenic route, and as I became more increasingly annoyed with all of the not so brief pit stops along the way. God reminded me of the bigger picture.
Just as we were almost home my hubby decided to make one more stop to watch the fish jumping in the river. One more stop that I thought was going to throw me over the edge but stopped me so quickly in my tracks as the amazingness of God and his timing was revealed. In those two minutes it took to pull over on to the side of the road, the sunset changed the entire sky to a soft purple. A moment that I will never forget as my family gasped at the overwhelming presence of our daughter and sister that entirely surrounded us. A moment that caused my arm hairs to raise and goosebumps to form. A moment that will never be forgotten.
I thought about how I would have missed that moment if we hadn’t of took the long way home…..if we hadn’t of made so many stops along the way. My feelings of irritation changed to thankfulness as I felt Audrey with us and as I realized that she will never be forgotten. I was reminded that even if I forget the number of creases in her thigh, that he knows how many hairs are on her head. That even if the world stops reading, and if tomorrow comes and her name is never spoken on this earth again……. that her name will forever remain on the one persons tongue that matters.
As we drove away from the river I looked back out behind me. Through teary eyes I watched as the purple began to fade away as quickly as it had came, just as Audrey had done. I thought about my journey this far. That this journey of grief doesn’t end at a certain date or milestone. I realized that as time goes on the days are not separating me further from her but are bringing me closer to seeing her again. Most importantly it reminded me that my story….that Audreys story… is so far from over.