For the last few months I have debated this post. I write it not in a bid for attention or sympathy but because of that wish for guidance. Perhaps someone, somewhere, sometime, will need to know. A little bit. And find some hope.
Summer is full of Merin for me. Perhaps that is because the last precious memories of her are summertime - a July bride, a first home, a sweet baby, family time at the lake, learning to be a mom. And then of course, the accident. And a funeral.
Merin was our youngest child. My last offering. Not more loved than any of the other four but the last and so we spent a different kind of time together. She was a daughter after two sons - the distance between Merin and her sibs seemed greater than the 2 1/2 years that separated her from her next older brother because Mark and Thomas were always a pair. She was simply always with me. We liked being together - a good thing as she homeschooled for grades 8 - 12 to accommodate her ballet training. We worked well together - most of the time. I knew her. She knew me. When she died we were having so much fun. The same fun that I had learned to love with Eden. Relating in a different kind of mother/daughter stage - as adults, friends, mothers together. The three of us (Eden, Merin, and I) were having such a good time. Hannah (Thomas's wife) made the mix even sweeter.
I miss the particular mix. I miss Merin's voice each morning on the phone when she would call. I miss her. When I drive by the street they lived on I feel a tug of sadness. One day not long ago I realized, as I drove by that street and felt that tug, that I was missing the fulfillment of so many plans that Merin and I had made together. Some of those plans were explicit (finishing their kitchen renovation for example) and others were simply expected - summer afternoons watching kids play in the sprinkler, shopping trips, Christmas baking afternoons - all that and more. I wasn't finished having fun.
Even though two years have now passed I find it hard to believe that although I know she is gone I still have a hard time really believing it. It remains surreal. I dreamed of her again a few weeks ago. It was kind of fun - she was just playing with me, laughing and teasing in her sweet, gentle way that made me feel loved. I miss her. I wasn't ready to stop playing with her. And like a two year old that is called to bed when in the middle of fun play, I could dissolve into frustrated tears over it.
So where am I now? And how could this help anyone? Realizing that every journey through grief is intensely personal and that there really is no timetable, no plan, and therefore no how-to I would like to offer that it does get better. As I write this with tears on my cheeks and a lump in my throat, I know that it is so much better than it was. There is still sorrow but no longer the raw, tearing pain that took my breath away. It is more an ache. No longer a constant presence, it is like an injury that manifests when probed - I feel it when something reminds me. At other times just because. Memories are sweeter and so welcome. I can honestly say that I have been blessed with peace and I have hope for even greater peace as more years pass.
I am intensely grateful for my loving and strong husband, for my incredible children, for the concern we have for one another and the fun we have together. The prayers that have been offered on our behalf have taught me much about faith and the real, tangible effect it has - I want never to forget. The comfort of the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The grace of my Father in Heaven. Friends. Service. Work. All of these things have helped me. But what helps and has helped me is for another day, separate from where I am.
The joys in life are now a little sweeter in contrast.