April 1, 2013

Thinking Back

Tonight I am remembering where I was a year ago.
(And the thoughts are not easily expressed, but here they are anyway)

Ft. Tryon was awakening to spring with cheerful daffodils and the tiniest buds on the trees. Ellie collected eggs in my purse and greeted the Easter Bunny with gusto. I held our new daughter on my chest while our slightly older one hid under the table and opened her eggs in secret, eager for the candy inside. We were on an outing as a family of four - celebrating with friends and neighbors the newness of spring and the upcoming Easter holiday. Feeling good just to be together.

I look at the girl in these photos - a mother of two, yes, but still just a girl of 25. I see her and think, "She was so happy. And tired. And blissfully unaware of what was about to happen."  

Is that why it happened? Because I let my guard down? Because I was enjoying my life? Should I have known that innocence like that can never last?

Of course not. But those are the questions I have when I see these photos.

Worn out from my newborn baby, I hadn't yet known the exhaustion of grief.

Still changing and adjusting to our new life, about to be knocked to the ground with the hardest news.

I've looked at these pictures a lot in the last year. There I was, the day before my world came crashing down.
 Those beautiful cheeks, that cheesy grin - the moment I took this photograph I thought of my mom, knew how much she would love it when I sent it to her.
My heart was so full on this day. And the next day it was broken. These photos still leave me with a strange mix of emotions: A longing for the days before pain was visible in my eyes, sadness for the girl who doesn't know what is to come, anger for the babes that would witness their mother's consuming grief. There is also a sense of wisdom and peace. A feeling that I am so far removed from the girl in these photos. So changed. And that isn't such a bad thing. Growth means change.

Tomorrow marks a year since Mom died.

I've had a year to live this new version of my life. I've had one year to think about the effects that her life and death have had on me. At this point in the journey I think I will pause and try to write a bit about what it all has meant to me thus far. Not to memorialize her, per se, but to check in with where I am. To write a bit about the things I've been avoiding writing about for the last months. To try to organize some of my thoughts - while understanding that none of them are finished. The emotions are still shifting and probably always will.

One year is not the end of my journey, but it does seem a good time to look back and reflect. 


  1. I can't believe it's been a year. This was a thoughtful post about a difficult subject, and I admire your grace in grappling.

  2. I continue to be amazed by your strength and humbled by the growth and changes that I have seen in you this last year. And I have only seen a small part. You have been in my thoughts and heart a lot lately. Love you.

  3. Hey Whitney! I have been a silent observer of you this last year or so, without much to say, because I thought 'what more can be said?' I know how strong your faith is--I watched you attend seminary alone as a freshman in High School--and I know that you know 'the Gospel answers.' And yet, my heart longs to be able to say or do something--not to reduce the mourning, for mourning is one of the highest expressions of love--but to increase the hope and expectation of the great joy that will be yours (and all of ours) in stepping to the other side and seeing that those we most loved were there with us all the time. We just couldn't see them. Even here at my desk, as I avoid research for a short time, I know that if our eyes could truly be opened, as those of Elisha's servant were opened, we would realize how great and marvelous is the work of the Lord. We would be able to see that everything has meaning. It has purpose. I can only say that I, at the end of a personally trying experience, have been allowed to see a glimpse of why it had to be that way. And it amazed me. The Lord's ways truly are above our ways, as Isaiah says. May the Lord bless you my friend. I know that we have never spoken very much together since those early High School days, but I have always felt in you a kindred spirit. Good luck!

  4. Loved this post. Wonderful, wonderful.