a letter to my surviving kids

Kids. This ones for you.

I recently said I was excited to get old. That my age only bothers me because I am still so young.

One of my brothers is turning 40 this week and I thought I know exactly what I will think when I blow out my 40 candles.. The same thing I think every year now..

One year closer… a little bit closer to my grave. And that makes me happy..

Then I was asked about my other kids.. Do I worry about how those feelings might impact them?

So kids. This one. This ones all for you. ..

..your mothers love letter to you..

They all are really though.. Just not in the typical fashion. Every word I type here is my fight for you. My digging into the infection that is grief. A wound created by the loss of your sister. One that if left untreated would fester . .. it would spread and eventually take over.

So I make the choice to dig into it. To not just let it be, I open it up and clean it out… Over and over again. It hurts. And I don’t always want to do it.

I choose to ache while you sleep .. To be better while you are awake. 

There will be no healing. This is a permanent injury. But it can be better. If taken care of properly it can be.. actually it already is… a manageable, albeit chronic pain.

This wound is deep. It is painful. Always. And it will be part of me. Always. But just a part of me. A piece of me. Just like all of you are a piece of me. 

Losing your sister changed me. You don’t even really know that I don’t think.. because you likely don’t remember the old me. And sometimes I am really hard on myself about that. .

I look for your sister in our moments together.. Her picture in the background.. waiting with her old paints..
I look for your sister in our moments together.. Her picture in the background.. waiting with her old paints..

I never set out to be a working mom.. But I am now. I had planned on being that PTA mom.. super involved in your schools.. going on every field trip.. Now that’s just not feasible with our foundation.

I do it for you, I say that all the time. But you know too..  I do it for me. Unravel is hard and can be draining.. but its also life giving for me. That’s a good thing for you to see. That I do for me too.. I want you to really absorb that lesson kids. To know its ok to do for yourselves too.. To not always put your needs last and your spouse and kids in front ..

The kick that Unravel gives me,  for me,  I truly believe it helps me to be a better mom to all of you.

I miss your sister. Even at times when I should be all focused on you. I think I always will. And I know that’s not fair. It’s not the mom I wanted to be for you. But it is the mom you have. Here’s the incredible thing about motherhood though. We are able to do so much at once. Moms are by nature multi-tackers..

I will grieve her. The experiences she missed out on. . the memories that were stolen from us.. While at the same time feeling such pride and joy for you and your accomplishments. I am able to feel the sorrow of missing Jennifer while rejoicing in you and with you.

Thank you for that. Thank you for giving me that joy .. that sunshine amidst the sorrow. You all save me in little and big ways every single day.

So I owe it to you to work.. And yes, I’m so sorry to admit it does take real work.. to embrace the warmth of your love. This blog is that work. And here’s the amazing thing. In the beginning it was constant work. Daily.. maybe even multiple times daily.. And now its weekly..

It’s not healing.. thats’ just not the right word.. Its not even better really.. It’s.. Oh I don’t know.. Maybe its just softer now. It’s not so loud. It’s not so debilitating. The work is worth it.

I tell you all the time. I love all of you. So I am just sad one of you is missing. It’s simple. It’s the truth. What you don’t know .. until you read some of the words I have written is how dark and piercing that “missing” has been and can be.

We all have multiple truths. In one moment we can have multiple truths.. often just depends on which way we are facing.

We typically only show people the ones we are proud of. The bright shiny parts. .. Which is too bad. There is beauty and kinship in our vulnerability. So many more lessons in our struggles than our successes.

What I write here is one of my truths. It’s when I am looking in and down. It’s me crawling into that dark place that holds my despair. This monster of grief..and shining a light. It’s hard to do. Its scary and exhausting. In the middle of it I always have this fear that I won’t make it back out.. But I always do. I know I always will. And every time I emerge a little bit stronger.

You will go through so many stages and layers of your own truths when it comes to your sister dying. I don’t even pretend to know what they will all be, but I promise to ride along with you. Even the times your truth is that you don’t miss her..

I imagine you reading my words one day.. And I do believe you will be surprised by them. The depths and the ugly of my sorrow. . You might even question your own memories of life with me.. Of our happy and our joy.

Silly faces in our multi-room fort.
Silly faces in our multi-room fort.

So just hear me now my loves. . This is just a piece .. a sliver of my truth of that day. The rest of it was filled up by you. I am not living in the bowels of despair.. But I do visit them behind my computer screen.

I will forever do the work of looking down. Of cleaning out this wound I have. The one that will never heal. It has irrevocably changed me.. Because I love your sister and I wish she was here with us.

But heres the thing..

Jonathan– This love I have for you. It will never change. It has irrevocably changed me.. Because I love you and I am so grateful you are here..

Nicholas– This love I have for you. It will never change. It has irrevocably changed me.. Because I love you and I am so grateful you are here..

Charlotte– This love I have for you. It will never change. It has irrevocably changed me.. Because I love you and I am so grateful you are here..

Bridgette– This love I have for you. It will never change. It has irrevocably changed me.. Because I love you and I am so grateful you are here..

 

…until there is a cure..

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6 Responses to “a letter to my surviving kids”

  1. Reading through tears! What a beautiful letter to your beautiful children thank you for sharing, hugs, love and prayers!

  2. Your words are very powerful. What a beautiful letter to your kids. My love to you all.
    We love you Jennifer ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  3. Your children will know someday how great you are!

    Just heard “Unchained melody” made me think of you and Jennifer

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