As some of you know, I had a 20-year career with Delta Air Lines. It was a wonderful time in my life, and I thoroughly enjoyed this period of my professional career. It afforded our family the opportunity to take trips all over the world and create some beautiful memories.
After Melanie ran ahead to heaven I found a note in her journal that said her favorite memories were when we went to Bermuda every year. We were actually planning a return trip there to celebrate her birthday before she died. As you would imagine the travel opportunities were countless, but the best things I took away from this time were the priceless memories with my family, and the lifelong friendships I made along the way. Some of these friends became my family.
This week one of those friends sent me a message to share her thoughts about my book, Beautifully Broken. What she shared struck my heart deeply, but none more than the very last line of her message:
Grief: Five little letters that change your entire life
Wow! That really hit home for me. There are many things that have the ability to change our lives, but none more so than grief.
As I reflect on the many ups and downs of life, and there have been many, there has been none so profoundly life-changing than the loss of my daughter.
Melanie ran ahead to heaven a mere 22 days before Covid hit. Grief is already such an isolating and lonely walk, but when you layer a pandemic on top of it I felt like I was on an island by myself.
However, when the history books are written this pandemic will be at the top of the list of major events that occurred in 2020. I know I’m not the only one who lost a loved one during that time as we’ve all heard of the countless number of lives lost to Covid alone. Our world began experiencing grief like we have never known in our lifetime and our world is forever changed.
Every day news broadcast, posts and announcements across all sectors became inundated with reports about how many people had died. So much loss and so many people grieving.
Grief, five little letters that change your entire life.
As time has moved forward one of the harsh realities is that no matter how much time goes by, life as I knew it will never be the same. I will never be the same carefree person I was before that life-changing phone call on February 19, 2020. There are days when I still struggle because that’s just how grief is.
I don’t know about you, but these moments especially hit me when I’m home alone. Just this weekend from out of nowhere the waves washed over me again. So many thoughts that barrage my mind and heart with no stopping them.
I miss my girl! I miss her laughter and her smile. I miss sitting together on the couch watching “girl” movies that my boys don’t necessarily want to watch, but indulge me anyway. I miss having a daughter to go shopping with, have tea with, or have Saturday afternoon lunches with. I miss our together time at the nail salon. I miss her dragging me through the shoe store to look at “the most beautiful pair of sneakers she’s ever seen, and just has to have!” 😊 What I miss the most are the simplest things, like our daily talks and seeing her name light up my phone just to say, “I love you, Mom.”
There were so many times I grieved my girl when she was still walking this earth. Watching your loved one as they struggle with any disease – addiction, cancer, mental health, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, you name it – grief and death are hard. You see, it doesn’t matter what the disease is – it’s the fact you are unable to do anything to save them! God knows, we would if we could.
As the waves rolled over me, the tears came fast and hard. I thought about all the things I wish I’d done differently. Then as quickly as it came, it stopped. It was during that moment when the sweet gentleness, love and peace of the Lord swept over me. I closed my eyes and could see my beautiful girl with her long auburn hair, gently blowing in the breeze. I could just about hear her whispering, “I’m fine, Momma. I’m truly at peace now. Don’t be sad. This isn’t the end. One day we are going to see one another again.”
Yes. Grief, five little letters that change everything.
I started @HopeDuringLoss to share my journey with others who were walking the same path. I’m so grateful for each of you. I hope as you’ve walked this road with me you have begun to feel a little less lonely, more understood, supported and encouraged.
As a woman of faith it is here, at the feet of my Heavenly Father, where I leave the hurt, the guilt, the overwhelming moments of sadness, the hard, sad memories, and the grief. I trust in the promises of God and know this is definitely not the end.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4