Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Own Grief

Today started off like any other day, waking up to the noiseless commotion of Devin slipping out at 4:30 to go work out.  Then my alarm at 5:00, snooze, snooze, snooze, even though I am awake and have been since Devin left.  I like to lie there in the dark, soaking up the last few peaceful moments of my day before it all gets so crowded and noisy and my head fills up with a million thoughts pulling me to do a million things and then the guilt that rides me all day long and keeps me up too late at night of only accomplishing four of them.

5:30 am and I know my time is up, the luxury of rest has passed and so I rise.  Dress myself and make last minute preparations for my four high school students to come.  Unlock the door, turn on the porch light; it is still so dark outside.

Now the rush and flurry of life begins.  Students come, students go, breakfast, shoes, backpacks, out the door.  Then to the ymca where I will drop the girls off to play and I will work out for two hours, lifting weights and punching and kicking my way through stress and anxiety, all the fears that I cannot get done all the things I want to get done, and that I am not perfect enough yet.  Why aren't I perfect yet?

Pulling into a parking spot at the gym I hear the birdcall sound of a text on my phone.  It is my brother, in the family group text, with pictures of my niece Emily getting on the bus for her first day of kindergarten.  Smiles and happy feelings, I love this big family of mine.  Then a mention, someone remembers.  Today would have been Tabitha's first day of kindergarten, right?

Sometimes I feel guilty for the grief I still feel.  As if there is a finite amount of grief in the world and by experiencing some of it still myself I am stealing it from someone else, who more rightly deserves to be feeling it.  But this morning as the sadness of missing that beautiful baby who would have now been, who would she have been?  (A kindergartner running to the school, backpack bouncing, pigtails flying, or the one in the corner, clinging tightly to mom's hand, don't let go, don't let go, not ready Mom.)  I decided firmly that grief has no limits, no boundaries, and in my own experience with my personal griefs the bitterness is alleviated somewhat by having someone to share it with, to bear up under the weight of it, to hear the unspoken words, you are not alone.

That decision made, I let myself feel it.  Even as the music was pumping and people were lifting, bicep curls, upright rows, one more set, again, you can do it, my heart was filled with Tabitha.

Dear Tabitha, I don't know exactly where heaven is, but I know that's where you are.  I don't know exactly what you are doing, but I know you are happy.  I don't know exactly when my time on earth will be up, and I will see you again, but I know it will come someday.  I only got to see you a few times while you were here on earth, but there have been moments since you have been gone when I have felt you near me, and I think you know me.  I look forward to knowing you, listening to the perspective you had on the experiences you watched us all have.  I know I am "just" your aunt, and I only got to be your aunt for six months, but you are always in my heart.  Here's to someday, Tabitha.

I love you.


  1. Tabitha loves you, too.

    With Tabitha and Daniel being so close in age, it is impossible for me to not remember. Whenever Daniel moves onto a new stage, I imagine Tabitha doing so, too, and wishing she were.

    Our wonderful family will always have a little beautiful hole.