Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Grief Looks Like Now

At the end of January, almost three months after losing Evie, I wrote a post called What Grief Looks Like.  I wanted to show the very practical side of grief and, even more importantly in my opinion, show that even grieving as a committed Christian with the hope of Heaven isn't as neat and tidy as one might think.  I thought it might be a good follow-up to document what grief looks like for me now.  

Almost ten months have passed since Evie left us for Heaven.  Ten months.  It's interesting to note that I have now lived more of my life without her than with her.  Time has passed and I really am feeling much more "normal" these days.  But I read this quote from a babyloss site the other day:

And my heart knows it's true.  Although grief is no longer my primary emotion (thank the Lord!), it's still always there.  Scripture testifies that a mother will not surely forget her nursing child.  I never nursed Evie a day in my life, maybe it's the same with your precious one(s), but I know I will never forget her, never stop loving her.  There is no way I can forget about and stop loving a heart that beat inside of me.  Ever.

So what is it like, ten months later?  

I still miss Evie.  Terribly so.  But I don't feel so consumed by the missing.  

I still often think of what might have been.  And, I imagine that too will never really go away. As Evie's peers start walking, talking, going to school, losing baby teeth, and experiencing all of life's precious milestones, I will be left to wonder how these grand events would have transpired in the life of one special, chubby-faced girl.  

I function pretty much as I did before learning of Evie's diagnosis.  My days are filled with normal and I, for the most part, succeed in the normality of life.  And ...

The feeling that I can give back to people is coming back.  Up until about three months or so ago, I could hardly think outside my own world, my brain too filled with my own heavy thoughts to carry anything else.  But now, I can.  And that feels good.

I've mentioned it before, but a sweet cousin of mine sent me a very touching letter in which she described how she views her grief from two late first trimester miscarriages.  She said, just like when you hold a child, comfortably positioning them on your hip so that your body isn't completely overwhelmed with their weight, as time passes you learn to carry grief in a more comfortable, functional way.  I am always aware of my loss and the would-be ten-month old cruiser that should be filling my house with giggles and screams of excitement, but it's not as burdensome as it once was.

That being said, I still do have moments.  There are times when something will spark a memory, a feeling, a picture in my mind and it takes me right back.  Right back.  And I am the same person I was ten months ago, sobbing uncontrollably and wondering how life can possibly go on when such an important person is missing.  These times are fewer and farther in between, but they still happen.  And they still hurt so much.  I'm surprised how raw the grief can still feel in those moments.

But God is good.  He remains faithful to me.  And I have so much to be thankful for.  Life today may not look like I would have wanted it to, but I know this was His plan and I can call it good.  And I can be thankful for all the pain and all the hardship because He is working it for the good of His kingdom.  

And I get to be a part of it.  

It's been over a year since this photo shoot.  I am so thankful for my dear friend who did this for us.  To see more photos, click here.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Sarah... honest and well said. Hugs and love to you!

  2. I love this post Sarah - I feel like I can relate to so much of it.

  3. This week Jo Ann D. (who has been through true and deep hardship on more than one occasion) said this about another person's grief. "Eventually, the day will come when you wake up and this grief will not be your first thought." That's a big day. And sometime after that we begin to have larger blocks of time when our griefs are not the focus of our minds. Those, too, are milestones.

    A nearsighted person may regret, even frequently, not being able to see distant objects better, but he also sometimes completely forgets about his vision problem.

    1. Good, true thoughts. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

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  5. Sarah,

    Two things resonated with me big time and that was 1. Grief is now not the primary emotion 10 months later...in my own loss I felt this at a deep level when I read this words and whispered "Yes." 2. The whole part about being able to give back to people now. I so get this. I mean I really, really get this. While I would still purpose myself to love on somebody or send a card or call them on the phone when I was in the early grieving stages (and I love that you also took on projects and purposeful tasks to love on others--so special!), it is only recently I have been able to REALLY do this, wholeheartedly. I now think about how I can lift the load off of someone ELSE and that is a good feeling. I wasn't sure when/if that day would come. I also love that we still have permission to miss, to grieve, to cry when that comes. Not long ago I felt that welling up and told my husband I needed to go to my mom's grave just to sit, cry, read my Bible, sing, and walk the cemetery talking to God. I hadn't been in months and it was time. And while I know she's not there (hallelujah!), the hands that held me are, the arms that hugged me are, and the face that smiled at me are laid to rest there. It was a good feeling to get up from there and enter back into family life with ease compared to the early days where the grief was overpowering. Anyway, just love you and your heart that you share so openly.

    1. What a journey, this grief one. It is good to feel like grief is no longer overwhelming and that you can give back, but, like you said, those feelings of missing and needing to cry are still very necessary.

      So glad you are able to carry your grief in a more functional way. It feels much better that way. I love you too Rory ... maybe someday we'll get to hug in real life!