Imagine sorting and putting away baby clothes, organizing a room for 3 boys is no easy task. A shade of green catches your eye from behind the dresser, and you instantly realize what it is - a picture frame. Without warning the tears begin to fall, wondering how it ever went unnoticed.
It’s during those unexpected moments you feel as your heart might burst due to a mix of love, longing, and heartache. The sting of the pain is overwhelming, and you have to mentally remind yourself to breath.
Images of the two of you flash before your eyes as you remember that specific day. Mixing up finger-paints, which consisted of flour, water, and food coloring. Tearing wax paper, undressing her fidgety little body, and watching her obsess over her belly button. Laughing as you demonstrate how to finger-paint, and trying to convince her that the point really is to make a mess. Before you clean up you run to your desk and grab a white piece of paper, wanting something to show off to Dad when he walks through the door later that night.
You remember as much as you possibly can, and yet, it isn’t enough.
Without warning the images disappear, and you are pulled back to the pain - a reminder that her life is now only but a memory. As you grasp the frame displaying her painting, you wonder how you’ve survived the past 2 1/2 years without her. You look around the room, and realize a big part of your survival is due to the fact you’re now a momma of 4. Though one is already gone, you have one at your feet playing with his trains, and the reoccurring kicks in your stomach are a strong reminder of the two yet to come.
Though the tears are now falling faster, with a hammer and nail, you hang the picture frame on the wall. You desperately want a little piece of your girl represented in the room she once occupied before any of her three brothers did. Stepping back, you admire your work, and your eyes fall upon the crib, narrowing in on the teeth marks she left behind. Little things like this mean more than most people will recognize because they tell the story of her existence.
This is what grief feels like 2 1/2 years later in my book. It’s not any easier than it was in the beginning, but time has slowly taught me how to react in those painful moments. The newly learned coping mechanisms often help soften the pain, but days like today, it hits as hard as it did the day we lost her.