Monday, August 24, 2009

Unexpected Beauty


In the midst of any tragedy, we are given opportunities for greatness. I have felt it and seen it in my life. When Emma died I was shocked at the generosity of people. Family and friends stepped up and gave us love and support. My father-in-law bought purple cabbage for my swollen breasts, my Mom and Sister-in-law flew out on a moments notice to be with us, my in-laws made the arrangements to get Emma to Utah. It didn't end there though, or just with family. My Mom's friends gave us their frequent flier miles, friends from my due date forum sent so much money that we were able to buy a headstone for our sweet girl. Food was brought in, our apartment was cleaned, refrigerator stocked, calendar changed (it was an Anne Geddes calendar that I just couldn't look at)...the list goes on and on.

Not only have I witnessed such generosity in my own life, but I have seen it in others. When Heather and Mike's sweet Maddie died, we gathered together as a community to give her love and support. When MckMama's sweet Stellan was so sick again, food and prayers were offered. When Tuesday's family had to say goodbye to their sweet girl we had fundraisers to help. When Nie and her Mr. fell from the sky, we ran to lift them up. It never ends.

We are resilient. We are compassionate. We care, we hurt, we love. This is what makes us human.

In the midst of tragedies there is unexpected beauty. The opportunity to serve and be served, the chance to step beyond our comfort zones to reach out, lift up and love.

I felt it yesterday. As I sat thinking about my sweet Emma, what she'd be doing today and how best to remember her, I was touched by the many tweets, emails and blog comments from you, my dear friends.

I was being sad and pouting that she wasn't here when I realized that I had a choice. I could be sad and mopey all day, or I could look for the unexpected beauty in this day. I chose the latter.

My sweet babies were extra sweet. They were all kisses and snuggles, just wanting to be closer to Jeremy and me. We had a lovely big breakfast, played legos, made a picnic and went to the cemetery. The day was rainy and I felt that was appropriate, maybe it was Emma crying that she wasn't here with us.

We got the to the cemetery with our picnic and ladybugs (we do a ladybug release every year) and had a good time. The kids played with Emma the only way they know how, we ate sandwiches, peaches and homemade ice cream sandwiches (which may or may not have been very melted by the time we got to them), and laughed at the rain. We waited in the van until the rain passed then went back out and released the ladybugs. They crawled on us, tickled our toes and one got to take a ride in Libby's mouth for a minute. These things were all bits of unexpected beauty. Being able to laugh and love on my other children made it bearable.


There were many moments that made my cry and tear up though. One of those was when Amelia burst into tears when she realized that Emma wasn't going to be at the cemetery. She thought we were going to eat lunch with Emma and that Emma would actually be there. My sweet 3 year old thought she was going to get to play with her big sister finally. That broke my heart. This grief is our life. It is what we do and what we feel on a daily basis. How we deal with it is our choice*.

It has been 6 years and I am finally at a point where I can find the beauty. It still hurts, it still isn't fair and I still hate it, I always will. But, it is not all encompassing anymore. The hurt isn't suffocating and I do not feel like at any moment I truly could die from this pain. I am surviving, I am living, I am laughing and loving.

The day ended perfect, a full double rainbow on our way home. I think it was Emma's way of saying she loves us and misses us. She gave us so much beauty in her short life, so it is only fitting that she sent that for us when we needed it most.



***disclaimer: if you are new in your journey of grief, please know that how you are feeling now is normal. Please know that right now, you really don't have a choice in how you are feeling. You are in survival mode and it took me 6 years to get to this point.

25 comments:

Midwest Mommy said...

Beautiful. Amelia brought tears to my eyes. The rainbows are beautiful.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Getting off the computer now to love on my children. Thank you for sharing this.

Susan B. at warmchocmilk said...

So glad you do this as a family. It's important to remember her, and celebrate her life. So sweet about your three year old wanting to play with her. I think you are very strong!

Mommy Mo said...

I think it's wonderful that you celebrate her life. I know it must be difficult to make that journey to the cemetary every year. I so wish she was there to play with Amelia and that none of this happened this way. Sweet hugs for your huge heart, and the family too.

melissakellas said...

what an awesome way to celebrate her life and incorporate her into her siblings lives...xoxo

Valerie aka Mamalovelock said...

Beautiful post! I understand completely.

Nicole said...

Oh Kim. You have me tearing up. You are such a beautiful person with a beautiful family. We love you so so much. I am glad you were able to celebrate Emma's life yesterday.

Erin said...

Beautiful and amazing. And did I mention beautiful?

ZDub said...

What an amazing day.

You have gorgeous children.

Much love, mama.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, the rainbow. How perfect is that? Kim, I wish I could be closer to be there for you, too.

Steph

Joe said...

You choked me up. I can feel the ladybugs. You are an amazing mother. I love how well you teach your children.

Michelle said...

I love you, Kim. I'm always here for you.

BeautifulWreck said...

Life is amazing, beautiful and bittersweet. We all cope with grief differently and grow from it differently.

Thanks for sharing with us.

AbeSaves said...

Thank you for the disclaimer. I needed to read that today. Lots of love to you and your adorable family.

angie said...

I think that you chose the second option (finding the beauty in the day) is very telling. I appreciate your willingness to share such a personal aspect of your life with us.

Kym said...

Kim, I can't even imagine going through the journey you have been on the last 6 years. Know that I love you and am soooo blessed to know you and your family even though you live in my computer!
Kym

jyl (Mom It Forward/#gno) said...

This is so sad and so beautiful at the same time. I'm so glad I'm getting to know you IRL, Kim!

jessiev said...

just beautiful. thank you for sharing such precious treasures with us.

Leonard Family said...

Beautiful post! Thank-you for sharing so honestly!! I love the pictures of your kids playing with Emma!

Liz said...

So moving and touching, thank you.

Motherboard said...

I love that you had a picnic with her and released ladybugs. That is a beautiful tradition!

twohig's said...

you are an amazing women Kim. I look up to your strength and honesty.
Finnegan woke up the other day and said, "mom, you know my friend...you know the one...the one I play fight games with"? I said, "Seth"? and he said, "yeah, sethmelia .I want him to come over and play"
xoxo

Lolli said...

I agree with everyone else. You are amazing. I am so touched every time I read about your journey, because it is a journey, isn't it? You are an inspiration to me. I am glad that I could spend time with you last week and (maybe?) get your mind off the grief for even an hour or two. You are a true friend, a wonderful mother, and I love you!

What a great tradition, to let the kids play with Emma in their own way. And what a wonderful blessing to be reminded of God's love through that beautiful rainbow!

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Tearing up for you!! ((((((HUGS)))))) This is just precious!!!

Elaine A. said...

That rainbow is amazing. I'm glad you had a good day with all of your babies.