A Post for Parents

For a while now, I haven’t wanted to talk about any of this.  I want the focus to be on Kimmy’s life, not on her death.  And her life was filled with so many good and happy things, so much beauty and light.

But her life also contained difficult things.  Ups and downs.  Things she didn’t choose.  Other people’s choices.  Genetics.  Chemistry.  Sometimes long days of darkness, and struggling to feel the light again.  None of this was her fault or her choice.  And the last couple of weeks of her life, a medication change that I’m sure impacted her.  I wish that both she and I had been more aware of how much.

I almost titled this post “opposition.”  True – this is more than simple “opposition.”  Just because you are beautiful and brilliant and sweet and kind and creative and energetic and talented and work so hard to be successful and take care of people, to be a good person, to be happy – does not mean that you must therefore be compelled to endure moments of eternal darkness and pain where your brain feels fuzzy and your soul hurts, moments that make no sense from the outside, depths that become so deep you feel you will never see the light of day again – in order to balance the scale.  Nor does it earn you even just a long streak of endlessly dull, gray days even in the middle of everything in the world to feel happy about.

But I also didn’t want to give this post a horrible title.  Depression is what it is.  It is unique for everyone.  So is anxiety.  Sometimes they go together, like they did for Kimberly.  Sometimes they do not.

In the end, I simply called it “A Post for Parents” because I think that is most relevant, although anyone can gain empathy from it, if not understanding.  I have an idea of how this feels, and I hope my daughter felt like I understood better than the “mother”in this clip.  However, I wish that I could go back and understand more, talk to her more deeply and more seriously, stop trying to fix it and just listen, realize how intensely powerfully it held her and how very much she was struggling in some moments, and do whatever it took to hold onto her.

That is why I’m posting this.  There is tremendous awareness in this, and where there is awareness there is empowerment.  If you have children, I hope you watch it.  Now.  While they’re here.

I can’t begrudge my daughter her place in heaven – her peace, her freedom, her healing, her love, her beautiful angel light.  But I certainly do miss her.

 

Sabrina Benaim – "Explaining My Depression to My Mother"

Sabrina Benaim – "Explaining My Depression to My Mother"Get Sabrina's book here: http://bit.ly/sabrinamagicemd

Posted by Button Poetry on Friday, May 19, 2017

 

      

 

January

Another tenth, Kimmy.  I did something I haven’t been able to bring myself to do in a while.  I glanced back through a few of your texts.  Last year on this date, in the morning, there are little bubbles that say:

“Happy Birthday, Mom!”

“Thanks, Boo.  Love you.”

“Love you too.”

You sent me a picture of you and Carl, my newest grandson.  (I had just barely figured out that you weren’t joking about adopting another puppy).

Everyone laughed at your funny words, and told me how beautiful you were.  You are.  One of my favorite pictures is still the one where you look like a new mom, who’s been up all night with her baby.  

Or both of her babies.

I was at Instacare this week with Ryan when some young, new parents brought their baby girl in.  I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop.  I wasn’t really even paying attention.  Until I heard her daddy give the receptionist her birth date – it was in June – and say that she was seven months old.  It suddenly struck me that she had been here less time than my little girl had been gone.  I watched them go sit down, take her out of her carrier, fuss over her . . . It was apparent that she was their whole world.  Funny how in seven short months such a tiny little person can have your whole heart and soul wrapped up and sealed forever.  Of course, I know from experience that it doesn’t take seven months.  It takes less than seven seconds, and really – for a mom anyway, for me – it started before any of you were born.  I couldn’t help but stare at that baby and think about the fact that she was where you were more recently than I was.  Such a strange, surreal feeling.  She was cute and sweet, as most babies are.  But she had less hair at seven months than you did when you were born.  You were such a beautiful, precious, sweet little baby, Kimmy.

          

Today was a happy day at work.  And with your brothers, and Chris, and Grandma and Grandpa – with family.  Everyone did sweet, kind, thoughtful things.  I appreciate tiny moments more.  I am more grateful for blessings, big and small.

I know you’re always there.  But you are always so missed.  I suppose it’s maybe like knowing heaven is there, but that feeling you sometimes get of missing it at the same time.  We feel your presence, your comfort, your help, your love – your soul.  All the time.  But we miss hugging you, hearing you laugh and looking into your beautiful blue eyes.

         

I have so many memories of so many sweet things you did on my birthdays for so many years.  You especially tried so hard during what I thought would be our hardest years (little did I know) to plan fun things, to make me happy.  It’s not that I care about my birthday.  In fact, I wish I could cancel them at this point.  It’s that I wish I could go back and forget everything but you and your brothers, and the thoughtful things you did and just soak up every second – just hug you and love you and tell you what an amazing daughter you are, at every age and stage.  Especially during that difficult time when you were trying so hard for me.  I knew all that mattered was my children.  I tried to tell all of you that.  But I wish I could go back and forget the stress and just relive every moment with you.

I have to remind myself that we have forever.

And now . . . your birthday is right after mine, the beautiful bright spot at the end of what has always been the most depressing month of the year.  (Although that may be arguable now.  Who knows?  It all runs together anymore).  I always told you that I got your birthday out of January – it was pretty close.  February 1st.  Your birthday was always something to look forward to, as the beginning of the end of winter, the hope of spring.  The celebration of my baby girl being born.  Valentine’s Day and hearts and pink were everywhere, which made you happy.  Pretty purple amethyst is your birthstone.  And you were always the light at the end of the tunnel.  That will be a more difficult day than this.  We often celebrated you and Grandpa together, and he is on the 10th again.  The truth is, there’s never going to be an easy month.

There are very few photos of you looking grumpy. This one makes me laugh. It’s how I feel some days without you.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

I don’t even know what else to say, Kimmy.  My heart is too full to talk.  It has become apparent over the past several months that our eloquent mortal words are pathetically inadequate at describing things of the soul.

Good night, baby girl.  Love you.

           

 

 

Little Miracles

We see little miracles all the time, Kimmy.  I see them so often that sometimes I don’t stop to really ponder on them.  They usually make me cry.  They always make me very aware of your presence, and of God’s, in all our lives.  The majority of them I never share with anyone, and those I do share are usually just with one or more of the people closest to you and me.  But this struck me today, profoundly enough to add a side note.

In December we decorated your little spot of earth.  (I hate calling it your grave.  Partly because that sounds so sad, so permanent; and partly because every time I visit there I feel your love and appreciation for everything we do to try to keep it pretty there, but I also hear you say, “Remember, Mom – this isn’t where I am.  I don’t stay here.  I always leave with you.”  I know that’s true).  We put tiny string lights on your little tree, your wreath, and strung them between the two and around your nativity scene.  Ryan and I went over a couple of nights to turn on the lights, and then back to turn them off in the morning.

 

On Christmas Eve day when I went to the cemetery, I knew that Ashley and Amy had been there.  Funny how I can often tell who has been there by what they leave, or even just the feeling that lingers.  I knew they had straightened your little Christmas tree and left sweet things for you. I turned the lights on for you – just tiny battery operated lights.  Told you I loved you and missed you.  Cried.  Listened.  Left you wishes and love and kisses.  And left the lights on.  I have left them on all this time.  I have gone to the cemetery many days and nights between then and now, and the lights have remained on.  All of them. 4 sets.  In freezing cold weather.  I put up a set of lights like that for Halloween (2) with the same kind of batteries.  They lasted 1-2 days before the batteries died and both sets turned off.  Today I went to take down your Christmas decorations, in the quiet stillness at the edge of dusk.  ALL of your lights were still on, blazing brightly.   I felt you so strongly there, and I realized that was you, reminding me that you are still here, still with us.  I took them down reverently and put your heart and your regular things back up.  As I pulled out of the cemetery, the moon was amazing – bright, brilliant, and full of love and light.

 

On Wednesday, December 27th, 2 days after Christmas – I had a very hard day.  I’m not sure why it was so difficult.  I found out later that it was a rough day for some of the other people closest to you as well.  Several times that day I felt an awful, sinking feeling of dread and of missing you.  I started to cry and feel terrible.  Then I had this wave of peace and comfort wash over me and I felt instantly better.  I had that same experience multiple times during the day.  That evening I was standing in my bedroom looking at the Christmas card you gave me when you were little and went through it all again.  Except that time the awareness came to me that along with the feeling of immense comfort, I smelled lilies and roses – your favorite flowers.  As I stopped to think about it, I realized that the fragrance of those flowers had been there every time that day.  It had registered, but not in my full conscious awareness.  That had never happened before.  I’ve heard of it happening to other people who have lost loved ones, but I have not smelled a scent that confirmed your presence to me – until that day.  I’ll be honest – I don’t usually necessarily love the scent of lilies, although I do think they’re beautiful flowers.  But on that day, they smelled beautiful too.  It was just a sweet, comforting, floral scent that reminded me of you.

Two little miracles in a few short days – those are the only ones I’m going to share here.

Actually, perhaps I will share one more.  So many inspired people say just the right thing at just the right time.  Not everyone who reads this sees my facebook posts, and vice versa.  I’m going to paraphrase Chris Wise Wadleigh, my sweet Chris’s dear mom, who reminded me today that I don’t need to “do better” or “be strong” (a phrase I have said myself that I resent being called, but then used to chide myself anyway), that there is no such thing as “being strong” when you lose a child.  True, true, and true.  And that we are getting through because of God’s grace.  Also true.  Entirely true.  Completely true.  His grace is sufficient . . . (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.” Brad Wilcox, 2011.  

His Grace Is Sufficient

Thank goodness for grace.  Grateful for miracles.  Love you, baby girl.