I’ve missed a few days again. This weekend was both busy and emotionally rough. So I’m going to combine a few topics and just post this final one from the Capture Your Grief project.
Day 29: Give Your Love Away
Around this time last year, I attended a retreat for bereaved mothers. I returned this year as a volunteer for a few hours. Moms of every age were there. Moms who lost their kids as little ones. Moms who lost them as adults. Poor. Wealthy. Black. White. Adopted. Lost to disease, accidents, murder. The common theme I heard over and over just like last year was “this is a safe place for me to grieve”. Do you know what the means to me? It means so many of these moms don’t feel safe to express these intense, heart wrenching, soul crushing feelings anywhere else. And keeping all of those in will only create more pain. I wish our society, our family and our friends didn’t shy away from this pain. I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. But letting these moms feel safe with you is an amazing gift. So if you’re wondering what you can do for a mom that has lost her child, just be there. If you’re wondering if you should call them… call them. If you are wondering if sending a note will just hurt them more, rest assured that it will not. I know you don’t know what to say. But “I’m here. I love you” is plenty. You don’t have to fix them. In the past month in the town I live, at least two young lives have been taken. And we’re to the point in their journey where people have probably stopped calling. Stopped dropping off food. Stopped sending flowers. But that family needs people now—probably more so than they did the first few days when life was a fog and they were surrounded by people. Maybe you’ll text her and don’t hear back. Please don’t let that stop you. Maybe she’s curled up on the floor of her closet sobbing, but that little vibration from the phone gives her the strength to sit up. And maybe she doesn’t have the energy to say anything back. But I know it will still mean something to her. It means the world to me when people reach out to me—especially now two years in—and let me know they still think of me and Zoey. Because all of this is hard. It’s so hard.
Day 30: My promise to you
My sweet baby Zoey, my promise to you is to hold on to the love we shared. To continue to show that love to you and to others. To still believe there’s beauty in the world. To still laugh. To look for the light even when the world seems so dark. And to hold on to hope.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Day 31: Sunset Reflections
I broke down over the weekend because of Halloween. Growing up, Halloween was one of my favorite times of year. It’s when I really spent time with both my dad and brother. My dad would take Bryan and me to Six Flags for Fright Fest (my mom was banned after an incident on the Screamin’ Eagle). We’d ride roller coasters and go through haunted houses. And just be together. My brother and I have very little in common. But we had that. And I miss it.
And this year, instead of choosing costumes and taking my little goblin to a trunk or treat, I took a Mickey Mouse pumpkin to the headstone at the cemetery. Not because she’s there—but because that’s all I can do as her mother. And I’m once again reminded how I’ve lost every memory of her I should be making.
For the first time since Zoey died, I handed out candy. And it’s been hard (there was a particularly adorable little fox that stopped by and about broke my heart). But I’m sure Zoey would want us to participate. And like I said, it’s my promise to her to keep living. To keep loving.