6 months ago today I looked upon your beautiful face for the very last time. How have I lived half a year already without you? There’ve been so many “firsts” in the past 6 months – the world kept turning, even when mine came to a sudden halt. I wanted to fall asleep and never wake up, but with each sunrise came a new day. I wanted to believe it was all a bad dream, but with each new day came the harsh realization that you were really gone. I remember, shortly after you left, someone said that losing a child grows harder with time… and I remember thinking it couldn’t possibly be so, because if it got any harder, surely I would never survive. 6 months later and I think it may be true. While the initial shock has subsided, the deep void you’ve left behind is only widening. I miss you fiercely sweet girl… I miss your laugh, your touch, your smell… I miss every ounce of who you were, and I’d give anything to have you here with me again.
Much has changed in my life since Emerson passed. For starters, I’ve stepped away from social media, at least for the time being – for mental health purposes, I needed a break. I’ve also gone back to school full-time to pursue a BS in nursing. I’m taking required science pre-reqs now and will apply to a one-year, accelerated program in the fall. It’s a natural fit, as I provided nursing care to Emerson for nearly 13 years. I only need my license, now, to provide that same care to others. In all, it feels like a constructive way to channel my grief and to honor Emerson. I’ve always believed that good things will come from her life, but only because I/we consciously choose them to. As such, I’m choosing to take what she taught me and use it to help others. It feels right, and the process of getting there has been a healthy distraction and good therapy for me. On a sad note, Jim and I have ended our marriage. It started before Emerson’s death but finalized afterwards and had nothing to do with her passing. We remain committed to the boys and I wish him nothing but continued success and wellbeing in the future. And to top it all off, I’m in the middle of a move that is weighing heavily on me, both physically and emotionally. It’s proving very difficult to leave the home I shared with Emerson and to wake up in a place where she never existed. My head knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she is with me, but my heart aches for memories of her in this space.
It’s hard to not feel like I’ve been caught in a tornado for the past 6 months… make that a 13- year storm leading up to a 6-month hurricane with sustained winds. That said, the strangest thing happened shortly after Emerson passed – I received a message that a UPS package was delivering, 2nd day air, to an address we lived at 3 years ago. Unaware of what it could be, I promptly logged into my UPS account and redirected the package to our new address. Several days later it arrived and I opened it – an umbrella. Nothing fancy, just a black umbrella. No special packaging, no note, no gift receipt… only the box to indicate it had been shipped from the manufacturer. It was clearly addressed to me, but I had definitely not ordered it. The mystery of the umbrella sat with me for months. Baffled by who had sent it, I was thankful to have it. Then a song came on the radio and I listened… then I listened again… it’s a popular song, but I’d never really listened to the words until that day:
“When it rains it pours, but you didn’t even notice
It ain’t rainin’ anymore, it’s hard to breathe when all you know is
The struggle of staying above, the rising water line
Well the sky is finally open, the rain & wind stopped blowin’
But you’re stuck out in the same old storm again
You hold tight to your umbrella, well darlin’ I’m just tryin’ to tell ya
That there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head
Oh tie up your bow, take off your coat, and take a look around
Everything is alright now
Let go of your umbrella, ‘cause darlin’ I’m just tryin’ to tell ya
That there’s always been a rainbow hangin’ over your head”
I still have no idea who sent me that umbrella, perhaps it was a gift from the universe. To whomever did: thank you, but I’m going to try to let go now… I will never, ever get over Emerson’s death and I will have “not okay” days for the rest of my life, I know that. I also know, though, that the sun is shining upon her every day now. She has weathered her storm and found her peace. We are done fighting. She is okay, now I need to be too.
The day before Mother’s Day, in a random pile of papers in the garage, I came across a heart Emerson painted that read: “Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for taking care of me. I love and miss you. Love, Eme” I have no idea when she made that, (or how it got into a random pile of papers in the garage), or why she would have said she missed me – we were always together! Maybe it was meant for me to find that day, the day before my first Mother’s Day without her. I will choose to believe it was and will cherish it always as a special gift from Heaven on that day.
Six months without you sweet girl – it feels like a lifetime and a blink of an eye, all at the same time. I’m not sure how I survived, but by the grace of God I am still breathing – I fall asleep every night to pictures of your beautiful face and wake every morning to the same. The storm has passed and everything is going to be alright; you are safe and I will survive, on my own – some way, some how. You were a shining example of all that is good in this world. Your beautiful spirit taught me strength in the face of adversity. You taught me to never stop fighting for a better tomorrow, and to never stop searching for rainbows and unicorns; we will find them if only we believe. Because of you, brave girl, I believe.