We’ve all heard the saying, “what a difference a day makes.” Well, how much of a difference does 180 days make? Today marks 6 months, or 180 days, since Melanie has been gone so I’ve found myself pondering that saying. I’ll admit many things have changed during this time – some good, some bad. Yes, I did say, some things that have changed were good. Don’t judge me! I hope as you read on, you’ll gain understanding, and if you’re someone who has walked in my shoes I hope you may feel the freedom and courage to speak your own truth.
Time is a funny thing. So much in life can change in the blink of an eye. I’ve learned that 6 months can seem like yesterday, yet it can seem like decades, too. I’ve learned that I can be fine one moment and in tears the next. I’ve learned I can go days without crying, and then sob without provocation all day long. I’ve learned that God’s peace and mercy is new every single morning. I’ve learned that the average person is very uncomfortable talking about grief and reluctant to mention the person who died by name. I’ve learned that those who are closest to you relationally may also not be the ones to offer the support you need. But most importantly, I’ve learned to have great compassion because I realize that although I am loved, some don’t know what to say or do to ease the pain death brings. My Myers-Briggs and Strengthfinders will tell you I’m a fixer. A problem-solver. Responsibility, Achiever, Discipline, Relator, Empathy are my top 5-character traits. When I’m unable to achieve my results, find a solution or fix things I’m beyond frustrated. So, I have learned to look at this grief-walk from that perspective as well. I’m sure there are many people who are just like me. They look at this uncomfortable situation and think there is nothing they can do to “fix this” so instead of coming closer, they draw away. I’m continuing to learn and realize, that’s ok, too!
As a parent we only want the very best for our children. Although I miss Melanie so very much, I am confident that she is truly in the best place she could ever be in. She’s now living a TAP life: Total, Amazing, Peaceful, which is something she never really lived here on earth! She is walking in Total freedom, with an Amazing Peace, struggle free. Who can object to that?
As her mom, I miss her in ways that oftentimes I can’t describe. I recently came across a few voicemails from her that I downloaded and forgot about. What priceless gifts! I have discovered treasured letters, emails and journals which are filled with both sadness and joy, struggles and love. I am learning to take the good with the bad.
One moment in February I was jetting off for a lovely vacation and in the next moment I was on the other line with a detective waiting to be told my daughter had died. Yes, life can change in the blink of an eye. So, I’m learning to take each day as it comes and embrace both my tears and the laughter. After 6 months, my heart doesn’t jump out of my chest when my phone rings as it used to do when my girl was here. I’m no longer perusing Facebook just to see if she’s been online to determine if she is still breathing or not. I’m no longer calling hospitals or checking with the local police. These are the things I do not miss. I am relieved to not have these everyday stresses in my life any longer. This is where I hope you will not judge me. Yes, I can breathe a little easier. Then I realize the reason why is because my girl is in heaven. The push and the pull within my heart begins again until I remember TAP. She is Totally, Amazingly Peaceful right now and I will see her again one day. I miss my girl immensely. There is a void in my life that will never be filled, but I will be forever grateful for the 18 months I had with her before she left me, where she walked strongly in her sobriety and I had my daughter back.
My mom always said, “God works in mysterious ways” and I believe that is so true. He has taken one of the worse things to happen in my life and shined light into this darkness. Even the worst experiences in our lives will not destroy us – at least not forever. I’m learning it’s possible to both smile and grieve. To laugh yet still feel sadness. These are all signs of life and living. The tears and sadness are outward signs of all the love we will continue to carry in our hearts for our loved one. The only way I know how to get up, putting one foot in front of the other, is by continuing to lean toward the only One who can pick me up when I’m down. Jesus. He heals our broken hearts and crushed spirits. If you’re struggling today, I’ll leave you with a song that I hope will touch your heart and help you to “Hold On.”