Theres that popular kids book everybody poops.. I think I should write one called everybody grieves. Because this weekend that has been so apparent in my family. The ways we are all hurting. .. and all reaching for Jennifer, trying to connect.
Waking up to my husbands tears.. knowing immediately why.. Not even for a moment questioning what is upsetting him so much in the middle of the night. He is just broken.. struggling with every moment to keep his head above water. So he does in his waking hours what is easier for him. He gets mad and frustrated over everything.
But when I look at him all I see is a man completely overwhelmed.. overtaken with missing his daughter. I want so much to fix it for him. To be able to take his hand and run away. to take the burden off of his back and put it onto mine. It doesn’t work that way though.
Because I know we are in this together. We cannot save each other.. or even really help each other. We can just walk together .. well really crawl together through this hell .. knowing we are not alone.
Jonathan. He was so excited when I said we could play out front. He grabbed her bike. It hasn’t been touched for just a little over a year. I still so vividly remember the last time she was on it.
At a friends house all the kids riding around her cul de sac. Tony had taken the pedals off of it. So it could be a home made balance bike. Jennifer was frustrated that she was still just a touch too short to be able to properly ride hers. I remember telling her..
“Just wait baby doll. Soon you will be tall enough for your feet to hit the ground the right way. Almost there babes”
She never learned how to ride a bike. That day at her friends she laid her bike down and resigned herself to waiting until she grew just a little bit taller. None of us knew she wouldn’t. I fight the guilt over not just getting her a bike that actually fit her. Being too cheap.. banking on the future instead of investing in the moment.
do you know how baby?
will daddy get to teach you still
to hold the back of your seat.
or do you already know how?
i wish i knew
Jonathan could do it today though. Does that mean he is taller than her? My second child at only 5 the tallest of my children? He was so happy to be riding her bike. So proud because it was Jennifer’s. I worry for him. How much he needs her still.. I worry that he will reach for her the way he does here at home at school next year.. or at a tee-ball game and get teased. His heart.. its so vulnerable. And my ‘mama bear’ is so strong.. not a good combination.
He is all signed up for tee ball. The only sport she played. He wants to use her glove so I found it for him today. A time when my cheap has now paid off.. Its black, not the pink she wanted so that it could be handed down.. It just wasn’t supposed to be like this.. she was supposed to give it to him.
Charlotte found Jennifer’s medal from her sports career today. She put in around her neck and kissed it. Over and over again. She does it to my necklace with her big sisters picture. She will grab it and kiss it. After the gym when I am not wearing it she will scratch at my neck looking for it. Its like a comfort to her.
We took the kids out for ice cream. A little girl walked in. Just her and her dad. Tony and I exchanged a silent promise to not look at each other. She was so much like Jennifer. I saw my daughter the way I believe others saw her. I could just sense the true kindness and the way she seemed to step lightly.. a mix of femininity and youth.
Charlotte was frozen in place looking at her. Her Dad looked at his daughter and said it wasn’t so long ago you were like that. . and smiled nostalgically over at me. I worried he would say they grow so quickly enjoy it.. and I would break apart.
I love my Charlotte. I am grateful everyday that I have a surviving daughter and thats its her, she is awesome. But she is different. And today watching that girl I missed my softer daughter. The one who could quietly walk in a room and capture it. Charlotte will capture a room too.. but like me she grabs it.. For Jennifer it was just handed to her.
I watched my Charlotte so intently watching this girl and I wondered if some of that magic would have rubbed off from her big sister. I actually went out and bought a purse, all I had was a diaper bag. Since its supposed to be slung around my shoulder Charlotte has no idea how a purse is supposed to go. So I bought one so she can learn. What a better example and teacher Jennifer was than me.
And Nicholas. At prayer tonight he thanked Jesus quietly… he is naturally loud like me.. but he whispered it tonight. Thank you for sissy.. for Jennifer. And he meant it. With all of his heart he meant it.
He got mad at me today and he stormed off. I heard him though and I followed him. To her room. He went to the corner of her bed and played one of her singing toys.. and I heard him singing along. Thats just how it used to be. When nobody else could comfort him he went to her. My independent boy would allow himself to be dependent on her and nobody else. Jonathan has tried to fill that space. But Nicholas won’t have it. So then there is this void.. when we can’t get through to him.. Its through those times she nicknamed him bubbas. What we all call him now. C’mere Bubbas.. and he would. He always would.
I wonder if she called to him today.. or if he just finally found a way to get to her again. To recapture what is lost for him.
He needed her today. He genuinely missed her. It was incredible to see him be soothed again the way only Jennifer could. Without physical presence she took care of him.
People tell me all the time. He won’t know .. he is too young. But he isn’t. This much I know.
everybody grieves ..
in this house.
we all grieve
we always will
…until there is a cure..