Yesterday we had the priviledge of having 2 little friends come visit us overnight. My friend, RK, whom I met through this blog, and her husband are celebrating their 11 year anniversary. Since they would be driving right past us on their way from their home in St Louis, they dropped Braska and Kinlee off at our house. What a delight they have been. Still, I have to admit that, as expected, their presence brought a few stabs of pain.
Braska has Down Sydrome just like Laynee and while she is her own unique little princess, there are some things that remind me so much of my sweet girl. Braska and Kinlee both have plenty of energy but I have to say that the two combined do not rival Laynee in the energy category. Her uncle Matt once compared her to a tornado and, well, I think he hit it right on the head. Braska struggles a little with some feeding issues which was definitely not a problem for Laynee, the girl could eat us out of house and home. Where Laynee's strongest point was her development of motor skills, Braska seems to excel cognitively. The similarities between the two come in very tiny little glimpses.Certain words spoken and the soft, husky sound of Braska's voice seems so familiar. Occassionaly, the tilt of her head, the jutting out of her chin or the upward roll of her eyes brings a breathtaking reminder of our little girl.
A touch of sadness comes at the realization that there are many things I had forgotten about having little people in the house. Things like how many times a day potty breaks are needed, how important "snacks" and drinks are, how sweaty one can become when dressing a moving body, and how utterly impossible it is to get a decent picture of little ones. Still, there are many things I did not forget like the sweet smell of a freshly bathed child and the luscious feel of a soft pajama clad body.
The single most profound thought that this weekend has brought to mind is that of the enormity of loss that our Brock has suffered as a result of Laynee's death. I realized last evening that in my efforts to deal with all of the trauma that each member of our family has experienced, it's been easy to shove aside the pure, unimaginable loss that not only Jim and I, but our children have experienced. Suddenly, in seeing his interaction with Braska and Kinlee, I found myself staring into the face of what was, what should have been, but of what is not.
Laynee adored her big brother, Brock, and the affection was mutual. Brock played endlessly with her. Our home and the ages of our other children is such that many evenings are spent with only Brock and Moise at home with Jim and I. While Moise is precious to all of us, his level of interaction with others is minimal. Moise really does not "play" with anyone. So it is that Brock often finds himself feeling rather bored. A deep sadness settled over me as I watched him making the most of every moment with Braska and Kinlee. His laughter rang throughout the house as he played with them. Before this weekend I had never really stopped to think about this aspect of the enourmous loss Brock has experienced.
Time moves on, life has taken on a new sense of normal, but the magnitude of loss continues to reveal itself at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected ways.
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.