I sat staring at the picture. I felt as if the image on my phone had just slapped me across the face.
It took us twelve and a half years to place a stone at our daughter’s grave. But it was finally set on the Monday between her 28th birthday on the 28th of April and Mother’s Day 2019.
I had gone to the cemetery as soon as I heard it was done. I was struck by how important it was to be there. All these years we have not been able to decide what words needed to be engraved in stone to sum up a life that was too short. But here it was.
I knelt down to take a picture to send to the rest of the family. The sun was bright that day. I couldn’t really see the image clearly so I just made sure that I got the whole shape of the stone in my camera. I took pictures of the front, the back and some other angles to show our girls and our parents.
When I climbed in my car, I scrolled through the images. Then I saw it. My face in the stone. My breath caught. UGH, I will forever be a grieving Momma!
Now I know there are some people who feel like I should be past this by now. I’ve heard people say this of others as well. But grief doesn’t work that way.
The last 6 weeks or so have been another wave of grief that has felt every bit as intense as my early grief. Sometimes the only thing I can do in those moments, reach out, grab them, and pull them close and let them do their work in me.
I was struck that twelve plus years ago I felt as if a huge part of me had died. The rest of me wanted to die so I didn’t have to feel the enormous amount of pain ripping through my heart.
But here in this stone I have proof that I am still alive. I feel the sun on my face and the wind blowing my hair. This is LIFE.
Here in this picture is proof that death did not win. Yes, it still hurts- sometimes to the point of taking my breath away. But I am moving on! I have taken some significant next steps in my life and continue to do so. I want to help others take their next steps even as they feel the grief pain.
So I celebrate being a mom to three precious girls who have taught me so very much about life, loss and love. They have been the greatest teachers of the work of God’s love in my real world - though God has shown himself to be so different than I ever thought.
I am grateful for the LIFE He has given to me - and the Love He has showered on me .
Even if it means I see my face in stone.