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.

Celebrating Laynee

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

This morning and that morning

This morning, as I opened my eyes to morning's light, the first thing that filtered through sleep's haze was the awareness of a deep aching sadness and the knowledge that "Laynee is not here."  This is nothing new or unfamiliar for morning has greeted me in this same way for the past 363 days.  As the cobwebs of sleep clear from my mind the reality of why she's not here and why I am so sad registers like a kick in the stomach. I've come to detest morning as sleep is the only thing that seems to alleviate the pain.  Sometimes even sleep is interrupted by horrific dreams and memories of terrror, but still there is relief in sleep.

I have foolishly tried to tell myself that this Labor Day weekend is nothing more than another date on the calendar.  I have decided that I must take that notion and cast it aside.  Reality is that it is absolutely not just another day.  It is the day that marks the anniversary of the last days of life as we knew it.  When our children celebrate a birthday we do not view that date is "just another day."  Though some celebrate birthdays with much more flair than others do, most of us remember the date with something special.  As mother's we look back on that day and we remember details of labor and delivery.  We remember what time our contractions began, what time we went to the hospital and then that miraculous moment when we said our first hello to our long awaited child.  For those whose children came to us through adoption, we remember the moment of having that child placed in our arms.  We recall the excitement and anxiety of driving to the designated place to meet our child.  Regardless of how our children came to us, we recall the rush of emotion that we experienced.   The birth of our children is a day we will always remember with joy and fondness.  Why then would I entertain the thought that the anniversary of my child's death would be any less significant? Just as I celebrate the day first time I saw my babies, on this weekend I mourn the last days that I saw my little girl. 

 Labor Day 2009 were the last days of living without unspeakable pain, sorrow, and trauma.  They were the last days in which my children's minds were unscarred by events more horrific than the average person witnesses in an entire lifetime.  That weekend, joy and sorrow did not have to reside together because we didn't know that sorrow of this magnitude even existed.  Those 2 days were the last days of living a reasonably carefree life because we'd never experienced the finality of child death.  Without knowing it ,I was living out many "lasts" with Laynee.  I watched her in sleep for the last time.  I read her a story for the last time.  I dressed her, combed her hair, bathed her, and fed her for the last time.  I saw her smile, heard her soft voice, and carried her in my arms.  I kissed her face and wrapped her in a warm, mother's embrace, all for the last time.  There was no time to tell her one last goodbye or to say one more I love you.  I didn't get to tell her to wait for me in heaven and that I'll see her again someday soon. 

This morning, as I lay in the quiteness of a relaxed Sunday morning, I allowed my mind to drift back to the first horrific morning without her.  Jade and Brock had slept in our bed, between Jim and I, that night.  They were terrified and in shock.  We all slept fitfully and I woke several times to sound of someone calling out her name.  At one point I bordered on hysteria and Jim and I moved out to the living sofa were we held each other, trembling with pain and sorrow.  After very little sleep, in the very early hours of morning, I heard heart wrenching sobs coming from Jamee's room.  I went to her and crawled into her bed, tucking her close to me as she cried.  I will never forget the words that tumbled from her mouth and struck fear and dread in me.  She sobbed, "every time I close my eyes I see her floating in the pool."   Because of the chaos at the time of searching for Laynee, my brain had not registered that Jamee was standing right beside me when I lifted the solar blanket to reveal Laynee's lifeless body.  I had been grateful that it was I and not one of our young children who saw that horrific image.  At Jamee's words, the cruel reality set in, the same image that was seared in my mind was also seared in Jamee's mind.  I would give everything I have if I could change the circumstances so that she did not have to see that.  Yet I cannot, and so I accept the fact that my beautiful Jamee and I share the bond of one hideous, life changing moment.  Together we have battled valiantly against the forces of this image.  Though it is not something I would ever have asked for, I know that this is something know one else on the face of this earth can ever be a part of.  It is for Jamee and I alone and it is something that neither of us will ever be able to effectively describe.  Jamee and I, mother and daughter are bonded in a very unique way as a result of this. 

Though I don't know exactly how or why, I remember opening my eyes amidst the torrent of emotion and seeing, by dawn's early light, my sister Karla standing with her arms around us as we huddled in that bed.  The rest of that morning is nothing more than a blur.  I know that somehow we got out of bed and put clothes on.  I remember food being there but not knowing how it got there.  I suppose it is only by the grace of God that we have gotten up every single morning since that day.  We have gotten up and put one foot in front of another and somehow we find ourselves in the midst of  another Labor Day weekend, still longing for a little girl with Down Syndrome named Jalayne.

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