Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The shape of peace.

Gone are the days of lying on the kitchen floor with tears and snot mixed together and smeared across my face while I can barely breathe between wailing and crying for my dear baby girl.

Gone are the sounds that emitted from my mouth as it stretched into a shape I couldn't recognize.

I am beginning to realize that no matter how much I have 'good grief'. No matter how much I 'heal' from losing Eva. No matter how much I talk about her or help someone else with their grief I will never get her back, this side of Heaven. There will be no miraculous puff of smoke and she will never, somehow, magically re-appear.

I guess I'm at the 'stage' of grief that is called acceptance. Acceptance is such a crap word. How can I accept that she is dead?  How can I accept that my daughter is ashes on my bookshelf? No, not acceptance of her death but knowing in my bones that she will never come to me again, until my dying day. Acceptance of the permanency of death.

I am beginning to realize that this is just the shape our family is now. It sucks but this is the shape it is. I wish it were another shape. A shape that included a living Eva, but it's not. And it sucks, but this is the shape it is. If I could draw the shape of our family it would be a heart with a big crack in it. The main part of the heart would be red and the crack would be black. In the shape of lightning. The crack would be filled in black and the wound would be jagged but it would be filled. In the dark,dark days after Eva died when I was in my darkest moments that crack would have been a sucking hole that was razor sharp. If you went too close to it you would get severely wounded. Now the crack is filled but it's still there, you know, a huge crack in the shape our family was meant to be. Our family was not meant to have such a huge crack in it. But our family is not completely broken after 10 months and 25 days of grieving. It is cracked but not broken. Hooray for us.

I have been walking this hard road of grief intensely for the past 10 months and 25 days. I have been criticized and rebuked for mourning my daughter in the way that I need to. I have been amazed how some people have come out of the woodwork just to tell me how I was doing it wrong and also amazed by some people who 'get it'. Those people who 'get it' have given me the gift of understanding and compassion. Without them, the road would have been much, much darker, and the light much harder to find. And, honestly, I could have done without the criticism, but whatever, one day those other people might understand. I digress...

These past few days I went to acupuncture for my emotions. It really calmed and centered me and when I left, I felt strange. I felt peaceful. It was such a weird feeling. A feeling I haven't felt in many many moons. This goodish, peaceful, non-angry feeling has followed me since Thursday (with one minor setback at soccer).

I was in church on Sunday and I actually looked people in the eye and smiled at them. I felt like a huge faker, but I did it.  My companion, grief, was right below the surface and I felt very much like I was one of those dipped cones from Dairy Queen. The chocolate exterior was very thin and it would take only the slightest pressure for the chocolate to crack and all the messy goop to come oozing out, but still. I surprised myself, I must say.

I realized that I haven't looked at much other than the carpet at church for the past almost 11 months. The carpet is not very pretty in our church. An odd grey colour with specks.  Last Sunday I looked up. And the view wasn't too bad.

 Our Christmas prayer last year was for a peace that surpasses all understanding. This week I  have had some insight into this verse:
...and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

The peace of God is not having an amazing peaceful feeling about life or decisions, but rather, it's having even a little bit of peace in a situation that seems unacceptable and completely unfathomable to be able to have any peace about.

Thank you God for a a little peace that surpasses all understanding.

Even if the peace lasts only a little while, it is good to have this feeling to remember when the darkness comes swirling back in grasping at my ankles and my heart.


  1. Dear Em, I love the Dairy Queen analogy. Yes, too often I feel like the shell could just break, and the anger and the tears and the snot and the everything could come pouring through so easily. But I'm glad that acupuncture is helping you -

    Thank you for touching peace and then sharing it here with us. . .


  2. Suzanne, I actually thought about a post you wrote some time ago when I wrote this one. You said..."and with that I touched hope". I remember reading it and not being in that space. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Oh how I love that dipped cone analogy. That is exactly right. Em, I am so glad you are feeling some peace. I know that it does no good to compare tragedy or grief, but when I hear of families like yours who lose babies or children that they've lived with for months or years, I want to throw up from the fear and sadness of what that must be like. I don't know how anyone could criticize your grief or say you are taking too long, grieving too hard; I cannot imagine a worse pain to try to learn to 'accept.' And oh, acceptance. I, too, am beginning to try to accept the shape of my family as it exists. It is a very differently shaped family than I ever imagine, but it is still beautiful, still mine, and full of love. Sending some of that love and wishes for continued peace to you and yours today.

  4. Thanks MIFD,
    Yes the shape is different but there is still love. I guess that's why the shape of the heart came to me when I thought about the shape of our family. There is still love. And precious Anja, Eva and Nathaniel are all still part of the shape of our famillies, just a different shape than we ever expected or wanted.

  5. This is you, Em, on Glow?

    "I have no idea how I could have been/could be any better of a crappy friend than I am now. There is so little left for my survival that there is nothing to give to others. And, strangely, I'm ok with that. I am who I am and I'm not who I was. I will never be that Em ever again. I am a new person and the shape of who I am is different than the shape I once was. And forgiveness is key. Forgiving them their blissful ignorance and forgiving me my twisted new shape of pain and grief and a little something beautiful in there too."

    Touched me very much. Although my story and yours are not mirrors - there are many reflections in what you wrote.

    I am struggling to forgive both: their blissful ignorance and (so aptly put, thank you) my own "twisted new shape of pain and grief."

    You are brave to go to church. I can't. There is too much anger underneath this thin shell and I do not contain it neatly.

    I appreciate your perspective - on Missing Molly, too. I often see you there, and am glad.

    with love,

    Cathy in Missouri

    1. Thank you Cathy in Missouri. Church has been strange for me. It is where I have found support and criticism. But I feel like I go to be with God and not be with other people. I know I can be with God at home but when I choke on the songs then it is still good to hear God's people singing around me. I, too, appreciate your comments on Missing Molly. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog.

  6. I, too, loved the dipped cone analogy.
    In a place where I'm feeling a peace - but not knowing how long it will last.
    I love reading your blog, and thanks for this :)

  7. I have found some time to catch up, read, comment. I don't know if I have told you before but I love how you write about your Eva and your love for her.

    I think finding peace if even for a moment is amazing. Grief does not go away but it does seem to change as time moves forward.

    I am glad you are looking up and seeing something other then the carpet.

    Love to you..