August 30, 2016 Evening
There is so much going on in our lives right now and it’s good in so many ways and sad in others. Bailey is now a senior at Girl’s Preparatory School. Thankfully, she is experiencing senior year fully so far. But we all think about 5 years ago and all that Christian did not get to experience. Christian never dwelled on what she missed. I think that last year, she truly lived for every moment. Honestly, I wish I could live more in the moment. Tonight, I am thinking about so much...September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month - I read a great blog today that articulated that it really needs to be an Active, not awareness month. Our next couple of weeks are filled with so many great things - the wedding of a beautiful young couple, Bailey’s 18th Birthday, a great collegiate golf tournament in our neighborhood, Bailey’s Chapel Talk at Girl’s Preparatory School and then a great friend competing in The Chattanooga Ironman while raising money for 3 charities, one being The Christian Bryant Foundation. And then our big Race Weekend is October 15 and 16th. So, things are good, busy, and extremely emotional.
All that said, I cannot stop thinking about just a few words...How do you Survive the Loss of a Child? I do not have all the answers to that question, but I know how I survive and it might waiver on any given day. Those words were in my head tonight first because I shredded chicken, that sounds totally crazy, but about this time last year I was getting very close to a beautiful girl named Amber and later I learned she only liked her chicken shredded. Amber died of a childhood cancer at the end of 2015. I will never shred chicken without thinking of her and her sazziness and her Mama. I also got news from another childhood cancer Mama tonight that was bleak. And today, I had a coversation with a co-worker/physician that has a child with a new cancer diagnosis. So, How do you Survive the Loss of a Child?
Here is my answer....
It’s not easy, you walk a tight rope everyday trying to maintain composure and act like everything is great. The essential part of my survival has been the support of other Mother’s that have lost children. Margie Bruner and Vickie Pippin have helped me so much. And there are so many others and some of these Moms I have never met in person and one I have only met in person once (Maribeth Wansley) and I know I can call or text her at any time. Survival is knowing I am never alone on this journey. Survival is also my extreme awareness of nature and the beauty of God’s world and just watching the sky. Literally, if I had to describe the moments I have had in nature since Christian’s death, it might take a full book...it can be a fleeting butterfly, a red bird, a blue bird, a yellow bird, those random beautiful rainbow lights in the sky, a true rainbow, a family of deer with a tiny baby - that is a brief glimpse at some of the moments. I am so thankful my heart is more open to listening and watching God’s beautiful world.
So, my daily survival is trust in God and knowing our earthly life is not the end. And my family of Chris and Bailey and Christian’s memory. I am so blessed that Chris is my husband. He is patient and kind and very tolerant living in a home with girls all these years. Bailey is such a blessing. She has so much going on right now and so many deadlines and her perspective on life and all that is good helps keep me grounded. I will talk about Christian and honor her memory forever and I will always celebrate her life. But, I will also celebrate and honor my marriage to Chris and Bailey’s beautiful life and her dreams and I pray for our future daily.
I am a survivor, I am surviving the loss of my oldest child everyday. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe, the loss is so acute, but I survive. I do not do this alone, I do it surronded by the love of my family and close friends and the support of other Mother’s on this same journey.
Remember to Love Deeply, Forgive Often and Find your Blessings,