The ball has started rolling down the mountain, first at a slow pace and a gradual incline and then suddenly it started picking up speed, twisting and turning as if on an old mountain road. It hasn’t reached the bottom yet, but I know it will. It’s just a matter of time. So I will wait patiently in anticipation, knowing it is imminent. That ball is just a big old mass of grief that always returns at the beginning of Spring.
My life changed on the first day of Spring in 2010. Lindsey, my 29 year old daughter, died suddenly. It was Easter week. In March 2013, my mom died at 85 years of age, we buried her on Easter week. Along came April 2019 and my beloved husband of 46 years died and the next day was Easter Sunday. You see, for me, this is a series of events that has caused me to collapse and recover, only to collapse and recover again and again. The moment I thought I had my feet firmly planted in my new life, boom it hit again. So today as I put new flowers at the cemetery, I started thinking about the series of events that have brought me to this place. I wasn’t sure how I felt and honestly, I felt numb.
As I took the long road home, I began to assess my life and what it’s like to be me. I became overwhelmed and as my eyes started to well up, I felt an intense amount of gratitude. In this blog, I want to express gratitude for everyone and everything that has brought me to this moment.
To the hoards of people who stood in line to see us when Lindsey died, I thank you.
To the friends that stayed by my side, doing anything and everything to get us through the day, I thank you. To the one that sacrificed her own health to be there, I thank you. To the one who came from out of town leaving her own family and sat in silence beside me, I thank you. To the one who never left my side, at times sleeping on my floor, I thank you. To the one who always shows up at just the right time and does whatever is needed, I thank you. To the neighbors and friends, old and new, who showed up with food, flowers, cards, a cherished hug, I thank you.
To the first person that hugged me and helped me find the Compassionate Friends meeting, I thank you. To the faces I saw and still see in that room that gave me Hope, I thank you. To those I met along the journey who helped me find my way, eventually giving me the strength to help others, I thank you. To those I met at conferences that showed me you could survive and thrive, I thank you. To the one that carries my daughters name around the country helping others, I thank you.
To the doctor that sat down and held my hand and shared a personal story of grief and survival, I thank you. To the doctor that encouraged me to give myself grace and accept help, I thank you.
To my coworkers who came, cried with me, sent cards, sent gifts and let me be me when I returned to work, I thank you. To the patient who asked me how many children I had on my first night back, I thank you. To the patient who asked if she could pray for me because she felt I had something heavy on my heart, I thank you.
To the person who taught me that grief is emotional pain and that you can let go of that pain carrying your precious loved ones memories with you, I thank you. To the Grief Recovery Methods founders, I thank you.
To the throngs of nurses with the tears flowing, who watched my first grandchild heading to the NICU 17 years ago with a grim prognosis, I thank you. To those who cared for my daughters with difficult and uncertain pregnancy complications, I thank you. To the NICU nurses who felt our pain and continued to do their job with amazing results, I thank you. To the Neonatologist that smiled at me and said, “she is going to be alright”, I thank you. To the doctor who never gave up trying to get a healthy baby, sacrificing her time off to care for my daughters, I thank you. To the doctors whom I’ve been with for over 40 years now and have supported me in every way and who always show up, I thank you.
To the resident with the bright red hair that sat with me at the hospital in December of 1981, after we had learned our 3 year old had a life threatening disease and might not survive, I thank you.
To the friend who reached out and got Rick appointments that would have taken months to get, I thank you. To the team in the clinic at VCU that offered him a smile and renewed hope, I thank you.
To the people who learned of Rick’s illness and reached out to offer help and hope, I thank you. To those who braved the long lines to speak to us and give us hugs and memories, I thank you. To all his high school friends and childhood friends who reached out during his illness, it meant more than you will ever know, I thank you. To the few that got to visit and took the time to sit with him and share stories, I thank you.
To his childhood friend who decided retirement meant going into the ministry, who visited and comforted us in those last days, even helping us renew our vows, I thank you. To the church family I have found and lift me up, I thank you.
To those who knew and loved my mom and share their stories, I thank you. To someone special who sung her favorite hymn in her last hour, I thank you.
To all those grieving a loss of any kind that have allowed me to share that space and their hearts, I thank you.
To those who read my blog as I share my pain, my joy, my triumphs along the way, I thank you.
To Rick’s family for loving us and supporting us, I thank you. To my family for the continued love and support, I truly thank you. To my grandchildren for making me smile and laugh and showing me unconditional love and joy, I thank you.
To my girls, Amanda and Tiffany, I think you are amazing and I thank you. At the end of the day, we may be here and it may be hard at times, but I believe, with all my heart, we will be together again.
So although Easter week is a challenge for me, it is the epitome of Hope. It is the promise of forever, it is renewed beginnings. To God for giving me this wonderful life and this amazing family, I thank you.
Wishing everyone a peaceful and beautiful Easter morning.