Tomorrow will mark a year since we lost Jenn. More than once I have gone to write about the day she left, the purple fuzzy jammies with white polka dots, the look on her face as I walked away… but I just can’t. Even a year later the wound is still too raw, the pain too deep.
For the first few months I felt empty and brittle, as if the slightest touch or one insensitive word would shatter me into a million pieces that could never be reassembled. Though I didn’t shatter into a million pieces, I will never be the same. And that’s okay.
It’s hard to carry a grief that few people understand. Yes, she is alive. There is hope for her future. Ours is a God of miracles. He is watching over her; He will lead her to the cross. But, the harsh reality is that this baby, who I love, is being raised by a heroin addict. Each day I need to place her back into the hands of the Father. If I couldn’t do that I would be those million shards strewn across the floor. I have learned more about trust in this last year than in my other thirty-four combined.
I can’t look at pictures of her. As I go through Photo Gallery with my kids and stumble onto a picture from those eight months, something inside me freezes. I instantly close the program and start talking about something –anything- else a little too quickly and a little too loudly. Many times I have shut the kids down when they began talking about Meg or Jenn with a hasty, “I can’t talk about that right now.” I have to go back later and tell them that it’s okay to talk about them, and I’m sorry that I stopped them earlier.
When people hear that we do foster care the most common response is, “Oh, I could never do that! I would want to keep the baby!” or “It would be too hard when they leave!” These people aren’t trying to cause pain; they don’t understand that their words twist an ever present knife in still bleeding wound. I avert my eyes, tell them, “yes, it is hard,” then try to get away.
On Monday, I set up a little display which can only be called a shrine. Large glossy pictures of my Meggie and my Jenn, little outfits they wore, Jenn’s rattle, Meggie’s blanket, Jenn’s teddy bear –right in the middle of the living room. I wrote out their prayer and placed it beside a lighted candle. It was hard to do. I cried as I gathered the pictures. I cried to once again hold their things. I cried as I explained it to my family.
It stands as a reminder of the babies we love, the loss we've experienced, that God is watching over them, and that it's okay to remember them.