The fear of losing a connection to my daughter is ever present. During my grief therapy sessions no one could explain to me how to move forward without letting go. I kept thinking about the imagery my friend used with the trapeze, you cannot grab the the rung coming at you unless you let go of the one you were holding on to. I cannot imagine letting go of all that I have left of her so the next best thing I can think of, as far as coping, is carrying her with me as I move forward.
I find that if I try and ignore all of this, filling my time with the distractions of life, work and family, the hole in my heart swings back at me like an old-fashioned swinging door, days or weeks later when the quiet moments come back around.
Today I looked at the picture of my four girls on the table, I wondered if I am getting used to their being three now? Have I become accustomed to her missing presence? That left a weird feeling in my heart. I can get through most days, without sidestepping, miscounting, and that was in a way a relief but it also stung a with the realization.
Today I logged into my local neighborhood social media account. There was a message from a neighbor. During this pandemic I have been trying to reinvent some of the non-profit outreach by offering to drop off the positive message signs to people within our local community instead of using them in our sign rallies.
I opened my phone to the message, it was a neighbor I hadn’t talked to in years. She asked for a sign if I had one left. She reminded me that our daughters had done dance together. The images of the dance mom days came flooding back. Back then I spent hours a couple times a week with the four girls taking turns for their dance classes down the street. My Mikenna watching her oldest sister focusing on the discipline of ballet and she tumbled and bounced around in her purple cheer outfit. Their baby sisters in little leotards drinking juice boxes and coloring on the bench sitting next to me. Yes, I remembered. The one message gave her to me just for a few precious minutes.
Grabbing the remaining signs I hopped in the car to drop them off. As I drove around I wondered if what I was doing really made an impact? Does seeing the words, “Your mistakes do not define you,” or “You Matter,” or Don’t Give Up,” truly make a difference in someones life? The truth is, I do not know, prevention in any way is a leap of faith. As I stop at the High School to straighten one of our signs, a teacher leaving the school rolls down her window and said that she wondered who put them there, that they brought a tear to her eyes when she first saw them. I finish up driving towards my house and see a sign placed next door to my daughter’s childhood best friend’s house. I know she also struggles with some mental health issues now as an adult. I picture the two of them running around in the backyard during the summer, barefoot, popsicles in hand.
I am thankful I have a way to try and find purpose. I am thankful for a way to do something in her honor. Even if driving around spending my free time delivering signs seems like a waste of time to others. It is in these little ways, finding a way to do something in our loved one’s honor, that those of us with a giant hole in our hearts, can find connection, a way to not only heal but to carry our loved one with us moving forward.