I started off this morning saying, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 I opened my Bible to Psalms and began reading. (Bob ordered me a new Bible and had Grace's full name imprinted on the front. It's the only Bible I'll use, and I'm not afraid to write in it. I've already begun underlining words that bring me comfort.) I find that I want to hear these words of comfort from Scriptures, but when they bring tears, I feel anything but comfort. In church yesterday, a friend gave me a card, said how sorry she was, and that she had just heard about Grace. I thanked her and turned away with tears. A few weeks later, I would learn that she lost a 6 month old several years ago. I want people to know about Grace, but I don't like the sad, sick feelings I have when I think about her short life.
She'll never suffer with sunburn, like Maddy had last week. She'll never suffer with cancer, like my friend is facing for the second time while raising her children. As parents, we'll never worry about the possibility of cancer like some of our friends face several times a year when they take their little girl in for her cancer screenings. There are so many wonderful reasons why we rejoice that Grace is in heaven wrapped in the arms of her Savior. A consequence of our sins is enduring pain and suffering. Grace will never know what that feels like. The pain and longing that I feel for her is unbearable at times. But these are just my own selfish earthly desires...wanting her here just so I can hold her.
We spent the morning doing some painful yet necessary things. First, we went to a printing shop to have some Thank You cards made. I cried most of the way there. Bob wrote a poem for Grace the day after she died. We put that on the inside. It says,
These precious feet are walking with God
No rugged road will harm them.
He'll guide your way,
With Him you'll stay,
Until we meet again in heaven.
It also includes a Bible passage...
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9
I read in a “Comfort from Meditations” the other night that we are to thank God for the tests He gives us. I'm not feeling very thankful today when my head is throbbing and I can't stop crying. I know that God is here. Right now, knowing this doesn't make me feel any better.
After the print shop, we stopped by church. I needed a June calendar because life must go on, and I needed to check on cleaning supplies. A friend came down the hall, and all I remember is her overwhelming happiness. As I was listening to her talk I thought, “I really don't care what you're babbling about.” Later on she asked, “Are you and Bob on a date today?” I quietly said, “No. We're just getting some running around done.” I thought, “If only you knew how much I've been crying already today.”
Part of the tears are frustration. No one wants to say anything. I don't want anyone to ask me how I'm feeling, but then again I do. I just wish they knew what to say and do. If anyone does ask, I always say, “I'm fine. How are you?” I don't want people to forget. It's nice knowing that people are thinking and praying for us, but I wish the cards would stop. No...I really don't wish they'd stop. I wish the words of comfort and Scripture passages would make me feel better right now.
What if they went through something like this? Everyone thinks that I'm o.k. because the garden is weeded and the grass is mowed. If I'm not crying, I must be over it. If I don't keep myself busy, I'd be in bed, on anti-depressants, drinking, eating, or just not wanting to be here. So I have to keep going because I have no choice. I'm supposed to be resting after my C-section, but why would I? There's no baby in our home.
Once we finished at church, we headed to the jewelry store. For Mother's Day two years ago, Bob gave me a necklace that he designed. It's a heart that has a cross going through it. At the top of the heart is my birthstone. The girls' birthstones are along the bottom of the heart. We had Grace's birthstone added to the cross. We wanted to add her name and praying hands or an angel, but it just wouldn't work. I cried all the way home. Through my sinfully, clouded eyes this shouldn't be happening.
Since Grace died, there are moments throughout the day that I have to force myself to find any blessings. Today, I didn't even want to try to find one, but if I had to I'd have to say that there were a couple of moments that the girls made me smile. One time I saw Heather outside on the back patio sitting with one of her kittens picking off ticks. It made me laugh. I worry about how my silence is affecting them. I usually have my back turned to the girls, because I don't want them to see me cry. Bob has been so good about listening to me. That is truly one of the biggest blessings.