Tuesday, March 29, 2016

the way it is now

I didn't think I'd write about this again.
I wrote this on Saturday but walked away from it
without hitting publish.
Today it feels like I just have to.
So here goes...

I was planning a different post today.
Then about an hour ago
this horrible clenching feeling 
took hold of my heart
completely out of the blue.
I looked at the clock.
Tomorrow is one year.
But truly it is today.
Our oldest niece died.

One year ago right now I sat in my husband's study,
listening to him talk on the phone to the emergency room doctor
in the small town's hospital where they first took her
after her car accident.
In the replay of my mind I see my husband listen intently,
asking questions,
getting answers,
him desperately seeking to hear anything,
God please any little thing
that would point to anything positive,
any sign that life would go on as it had
before the phone calls started
at school pickup that day.
But it didn't.
Her body was kept alive for another day by modern medicine
before she was taken off life support.
She's been an angel now in Heaven for a year.

You might know that I'm reading "Rising Strong" by Brene Brown 
as a part of the COURAGEworks class I'm taking.
This definition of grief was a part of an exercise on last week's lesson...

"Three fundamental elements of grief are loss, longing and feeling lost. 
We run from grief because loss scares us, 
yet our hearts reach toward grief 
because the broken parts want to mend. 
Grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness
—we feel as if we’re missing something that was invisible and
unknown to us while we had it, 
but is now painfully gone."

We talked, my husband and I, about this feeling,
of how we felt like we knew her as a child,
not as the young adult she'd become.
We lived in different cities, hours apart.
We had our own children and barely traveled.
Y'all know how that goes...
nap and bedtimes reign supreme,
we were strict to schedules to survive multiples.
The days are long but the years are short.
The time in between goes by at warp speed.
We blinked and she was in college.
She grew up.

A month before she died we took a trip to visit her.
She had graduated college and was working in a job she loved.
We took her to lunch and a basketball game
then she took us to see her first apartment.
She gave each of our boys one of her prized Pokemon cards.
She tried to give them more but we wouldn't let her.
They treasure those cards, just as I treasure that day.
It was priceless.

Although the hours and days go by
and the earth still spins
life will never be the same.
It can't and it won't.
Honestly I won't let it.
I want to keep being reminded of what's important and what's not.
People not things.
Choosing to be kind over being right.
Doing the right thing even when it hurts.
When my mind gets stuck in trivial muck
I think of her and wonder why I'm wasting my precious time
on stuff that really doesn't matter.
I'm not perfect, I'm human and it happens,
getting stuck in the muck.
I'm learning slowly but surely to stop in my tracks and refocus.
She pops in my mind and I know.
I just know to cut the BS
and think of instead
all that I have and all that I don't.
I have blessings, not problems, not real ones, just perceived.
She's gone but I know she's still around.
I think of her every day.
I'm definitely kinder because I do.


  1. Nancy... what a beautiful tribute to your niece. You brought tears to my eyes. What a gift she was to your family and yes, I'm sure she's still around. Everyone who reads this will feel her spirit thanks to your words. God bless.

    1. mwah. thanks Katie as always for your lovely comment. i appreciate you :)

  2. This is such a powerful post. I feel your loss and I'm so sorry. Your niece sounds like an extraordinary young's so hard to understand the passing of someone so young.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Thanks for your kind words. I'm thankful too that through your comment I found your blog. Its beautiful and this post:
      in particular truly spoke to me, more than you'll ever know or than words can express. Thank you. I've added you to my daily blogroll reads.

  3. the greater the love , the greater the loss.

    1. true words. thanks Karen :) i couldn't agree more.

  4. This was such a beautiful post. I especially loved the boxed quote. I lost both of my parents by the time I was 5 and 42 years later there are still days where I feel the loss. People have sometimes said "You need to get over it." Of course they have been individuals who have not worn the same shoes and I just remind myself that their journey is different. Everyone grieves differently. That you honor her through your kindness is a beautiful thing.

    1. Dear Laura,

      Thank you for your beautiful words and for sharing your heart. I'm so sorry for your loss. I think that you are very kind and generous to extend those thoughts towards those with that sentiment, that losing loved ones, particularly parents, is something to get over. We adapt and move forward but we don't forget and get over it. Thank you again for sharing here.

  5. Nancy- this is a lovely tribute to your niece, certainly, but it also speaks to who you and your husband are as family members. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. Thank you Laura. She was incredibly lovely in every way.


  6. I remember the first post you wrote about that day. It really struck a chord when our own baby girl was in a dreadful car accident this past June, yet survived. It really does put things in perspective. I am ashamed to say, there are still days I take for granted. Part of our culture, I guess. Thanks for the reminder. It's hard. So many don't get it as Laura G stated. There have been a few things that have come up recently where I find myself questioning things and honestly mad, but then I read something like this or am reminded of what we've been through and survived and those feelings feel so insignificant, unwarranted.

  7. My goodness I am crying here... how heart I have all girls that drive I pray everyday that someone watches over them please. I pray for your family to heal a bit more each day.


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