Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I know I haven't published a blog in forever but this one has been brewing in my head for a little while and I need to take a stab at getting the words right. It's not a fun subject, but it's important. To give just a little background, when I met T.J., I was just 17 (vs. his 23) and his mom and sister were living on the east coast. He talked to them often and they were as involved in his life as they could be from 3000 miles away! When he told them we had started dating, his sister flipped out on him a little bit, and I was terrified of her. I knew how important his sister was to him and it was more than a little intimidating to think she might not like me for any reason! Luckily for me, her only "reason" was that I was underage- a problem that was solved on its own within a few short months, and we began a friendship that I will always treasure. We always laughed about how I was scared of her at first! But she accepted me as family right from the beginning, and I loved her as if she were my own sister too. Sadly, she fought a hard battle with breast cancer and we lost her at age 35. She was an incredible person and I could write a whole lot about that, but for today, this is what I need to say. Grief is a funny thing. When we lose a loved one, I believe it really does change us forever. In the beginning the pain is raw and deep and you wonder how the world can keep right on spinning. Eventually, it ebbs a bit, and as years pass, ebbs a bit more. It becomes easier to live with, but it never goes away. Sometimes you notice the kids got out the set of Colorforms she sent for a Christmas gift all those years ago, and you remember her unforgettable smile. Maybe the tears well up a little at the thought, but they don't spill over this time. Or, EVERY time you bathe a baby, you smile because you can't help remembering how much she LOVED tiny little baby butts. Every time. You can still hear her laugh in your head! But it also makes you sad to think that now there are 3 more babies she never got to meet. Some days you read a story about a cancer survivor and wonder, just for a split second, why did THAT person make it? Why is cancer so ugly and MEAN? And still other days...you look at the calendar and realize with a jolt that THIS is the day she slipped away and became whole again. And you are right back there in that moment you first got the news that she was gone, 8 years ago... crying in a hotel bathroom, trying not to wake the babies sleeping on the other side of the door but unable to make sense of it. And you remember the fresh hurt and unfairness of it all, and to be honest you don't really want to commemorate THIS day. No. Not the day that hurt so very much. It's much better to remember her birthday...anniversary...heck, any day but this one- days that represent the way she LIVED and loved while she was here with us. And yet this day comes every year, and we remember anyway. I love you, Chellee. I am glad you are dancing in heaven and without pain but damn it, I miss you, girl. All the time.