This time last year we attended our daughter’s memorial service. Exactly one week after I had given birth to her, a glorious event, we were celebrating her glorious homegoing. It was too poignant for words. A day I will never forget and full of bittersweetness.
Ian and I felt then that the ceremony gave us some closure. The memorial service was so well executed – the 90s Christian music playlist I had organized for the prelude, the lavender ribbons and bows like her nursery that adorned the sanctuary, the numerous pictures of her precious face in the church foyer, the heartfelt messages Ian and I shared with the congregation, the powerful pastoral teaching from the scriptures about Hope and grieving well, the prayers and poems and lullabies shared by family members, the hugs and kind words of so many dear people – we felt uplifted and at peace beyond understanding.
But that warm feeling blew away as the chilly winter winds swept in. By late November we were struggling to just get out of bed each day; we didn’t want to eat; we didn’t want to live; we just existed but for hardly a reason at all. We desperately missed our Heidi girl and the joy of being her parents; we desperately missed holding her close, feeling her soft skin, and smelling her sweet scent; we desperately missed her newborn cry and little gurgles and smacking noises while she sucked her pacifier; we desperately missed investing into the purpose and meaning of family.
We’ve had to climb out of that pit of despair. Over time it’s been easier to cope with missing our daughter. We are surviving better and gratefully cherishing our memories of her.
Last week was her birthday into the world and her birthday into Heaven. We celebrated both with a little ceremony when my parents visited. Each of us wrote a note to Heidi and attached it to a purple balloon; we read the notes aloud, Ian even addressed one from Everley to her big sister, then we said a family prayer and released the balloons into the autumn breeze. We watched as they were carried up over the pines and maples into the November gray and on into the Heavenly white.