Sunday, July 31, 2011

"How are you?"

So it’s been almost 6 months since we last posted on this blog, and what a 6 months it’s been. We felt like we were dragged kicking & screaming into the dark valley of grief not knowing what we would find, what we would feel, and when – if ever – it would end. We had every intention of keeping everyone updated, at least for a while. After all, everyone has been so good to us. People fed us for months, helped us dig our of our financial mess, sent cards, hugged us, cried with us, listened to us and prayed for us. There were so many days where we really wanted to write and share how we were doing, but when the time came – we just couldn’t. As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m still not sure if I’ll finish or if this will even get posted, but its time to try. So now, months later, we’re going to give it a try. Honestly, I’m not sure how many people still check this page, but for those that still do we want to share how we’re doing and what life looks like now.  When people ask us “how are you?” it’s a really difficult answer and my guess is people get more than they bargained for, but here it goes…

How are we doing?

There’s really two answers to that question right now...

The first answer is – “not good”. We’re still very early in our grieving process and every day is a hard – some harder than others. Not a day goes by where something doesn’t remind us of Waverley and the fact that she’s no longer with us. I walked down the hall several weeks ago and realized I hadn’t set foot in her room for months.  In a way, for me her room has been sort of a dim reflection of our family now. Her room largely had remained unchanged. If someone walked in there they probably wouldn’t know that there wasn’t anyone living in that room anymore. Yet, there is a gigantic void. There is life missing from that room and that’s exactly what our family feels like right now. There is a void – a gigantic one. There is life missing from our family.  That’s not to say that there haven’t been times of joy since Waverley has been gone – there have been. That’s not to say that we don’t still do normal stuff that we always did – we do. It’s just that she isn’t there for any of that, and we feel that absence and we feel it all the time. We felt it more on Easter and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I think that’s all we felt on her birthday. We feel it when someone asks one of us how many children we have, or when we have to refer to our children in the singular now – I’m not going to pick up the girls from wherever they are. I’m going to pick up my daughter. Singular. It may be most painful when I hear someone ask Harper if she has any brothers or sister. It breaks our heart every time. What I think we’ve quickly come to understand is that, at least for a while, this is our new reality.  I remember those first couple of weeks after Waverley was gone. I couldn’t believe how quiet it was.  The sound of silence was deafening, if that makes any sense and it still seems that quiet way too often. We still cry, we still get angry, we still ask God why and are still disappointed and hurt that he didn’t intervene in this situation.  So that’s it. That’s the first answer to that question.  It’s almost impossible to put into words how much we hurt and how much we miss our little girl.

The second answer is – “well, pretty good”. Immediately followed by this disclaimer: “…considering all that’s happened”. Even among the pain and the loss we’ve had some great moments over the past several months. We’ve laughed sometimes so hard we cried. We’ve still celebrated Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and of course Harper’s birthday.  We’ve still managed somehow to carry on the day to day – which in and of itself seems like a great victory. These have been living examples of God’s grace. That in the midst of so much pain and loss we might still find moments of joy. We could give so many examples of joys that we have experienced in the last six months even with this cloud of grief hanging overhead. Rather than list all of those out I’d like to wrap this up by talking about Easter. Yes, I realize it’s August, but for us I think Easter is something we’ve been looking to more and more these days as we navigate this first year without Wavy.

Easter was the first real holiday after Waverley left and so we braced for a rough Easter weekend. Molly and I have both followed Jesus for a long time now and so we’ve celebrated and recognized Jesus death and resurrection at that time of year for quite some time. It’s always meaningful and has always been a good weekend for us to refocus spiritually. We weren’t really sure how that would go this year. My guess was that it would feel a little like it always did – we’d recognize Jesus sacrifice for us and celebrate his resurrection that gives us eternal life. Mostly, I think we we’re both hoping to just make it through this first holiday without Wavy.  It was hard. Excruciating. Lonely. It was painful and heartbreaking just like we thought it would be, but there was something in there that I didn’t expect. Maybe at another date I’ll share the long version, but here’s the short version. On both Good Friday and Easter Sunday and really throughout Holy Week, I had this deep sense of God saying “I am a God of redemption and I will redeem all things, even this ” It wasn’t an audible voice or anything but there was a distinct sense of God reminding me(us) that He is a Redeemer and a restorer of all things. Even in the pain of celebrating Easter without Waverley He reminded us that he will redeem this situation in a way that only he can and bring restoration to our family.  It will take time, and probably a lot of it, but even now we see small corners of our lives where things are being redeemed and healed and restored. It’s the fact that we’re debt free, even though we should still be in debt over our heads if you add the numbers up. It’s the new traditions that we’ve started that make a holiday seem new and help us move forward together as a family. It’s the pure, unbridled joy that I see in Harper every day that can’t help but put a smile on our faces. They’re small things, but they’re redemptive things.

Everyday now Molly and Harper and I walk into Waverley’s room – the room that dimly reflected our new reality. It has been redeemed as well. It’s no longer a room with no life. It’s now the beautiful, bright and life-filled room of a 5 year old who’s heading off to Kindergarten in a just few short weeks. Every morning we go in and wake Harper up for the day, and every night we go in and tuck in her and say goodnight.  And that’s a good thing. A redemptive thing. And what about Harper’s old room? Well, for now we’ve moved a chair and a crib and a few other things in there. We don’t spend much time in there yet, but it’s being redeemed too. In time it will be a nursery again - full of new life and a reflection of God’s redemptive hand in our family.