I can’t believe it’s been two months since Penelope was born. Two months?! Didn’t this just happen yesterday? It certainly feels like it some days. I cry every day, but not every day is filled with heart wrenching sobs. I can admit that I am healing slowly. Most days I can:
1. Get out of bed and make breakfast
2. Shower and get dressed
3. Run errands by myself
4. Go grocery shopping
5. Meet a friend for coffee or a workout
6. Be alone in our house
I wasn’t able to do a lot of these things for a while. It still hurts being out in public. It feels as if I wear an invisible mark of pain. I want to tell people when they ask “How are you today?” that I’m having a bad day, I’m sad, I’m making myself run errands to distract my brain and my heart. However, the general public isn’t expecting to hear those sort of things. That you haven’t exercised in a while because you had an emergency C-section, and no, I’m not taking care of my baby at home. You haven’t been eating enough because you’re grieving your daughter’s death. The look of confusion or sadness when you burst into tears at the drop of a hat…sorry lady at the flower shop. It’s sad to think that we can’t be honest with people that we interact with every day. Why must we walk on eggshells?
In these past two months, I have learned to show myself grace, as well as grace to others. As I type the word ‘grace’ though, I wonder if I truly understand its meaning. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) By our faith in God, grace is given to us as a gift. A gift not to hold on to, but to be passed on to others. So when people ask “How’s your day going?” I know they don’t know my heartache. So I lie and say, “I’m ok” or if I’m brave, “It’s a rough day.” I’m vague so I can spare them the hurt I feel. When I hear conversations about holidays approaching and the traditions associated with them…I can’t be mad or upset. People still continue to live, because life keeps happening whether or not I’m not ready to participate. As for myself, grace means letting myself lay in bed all day and cry if I need to. To cancel plans because I am emotionally exhausted. To accept help from friends without feeling obligated to return the favor. To not feel guilty when I can’t perform my household responsibilities. It’s being ok to grieve the way I need to I order to heal.
When I say I’m healing, it feels like I’m moving away from Penelope, even though I know that’s not true. She will always be in my heart and my mind. I look at her picture daily. I hold her pink monster close every night. I will never be fully healed. I will always carry the grief of my daughter until I die. Always wondering who she would be and who she would look like. Grieving the life and memories that were never made. I can say that having Penelope has made me into a woman I’ve longed to be. A mother. Strong. Compassionate. Patient.
I leave with this “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) Yes, we grieve, we suffer a pain no one should experience, but knowing there is a greater purpose to this all, comforts me *now*. Her life gives me life. She alone has created a ripple effect of great magnitude in many lives. She has already done great things with her short life. With that, she will always be remembered.