I know this blog was created to be a story of our adoption but it has become much more than that for me. It has become a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings about life and for me that has a lot to do with my journey through grief. Sometimes I worry that people will think I should be over everything by now and I try to hide my feelings because I don't want to tire people with my story. I know there are people like that because I see the look in their eyes when I bring it up and some have told me that's the way they feel. I have been thinking about that alot lately, and I guess I have come to the conclusion that if people feel that way it is their problem, not mine. They have the choice to not read my blog or to stop being my friend. I am who I am and one of the gifts Emma left me is the realization that life is too short to care what people think. I still worry some but I don't let it rule my life or govern my decisions. That being said, I have to share some of my thoughts this week.
After Emma died, I started collecting butterflies to remind me of her new life with Christ. It brought some comfort but, as most of you know, that first year was a struggle for me. I struggled just to get up in the morning and each day I was so glad the day was over. I felt like it was one day closer to being with her again. I know people didn't get that. I know that some thought I should be relieved she was gone because the struggles were over and she was free and so were we. Nothing hurt me more than when people said those things. You see, I didn't feel free. I felt lost. For nine years, my life was defined by Emma. My day was scheduled to meet her needs. My purpose was to keep her alive. It wasn't a struggle for me. It was my joy. I believed that God had given me a job to do and I believed I did it well. I felt completely fulfilled being her mother. And then she was gone.
My world came crashing down around me. I knew she is in Heaven and all of that good stuff but I hurt. I was in pain. I didn't know who I was anymore. I wandered around the house trying to fill the days. Every day at 4:30 I waited for the bus to bring her home. There was no one who loved and accepted me so completely as Emma had. She saw me at my best and at my worst and she always smiled when she saw me. Who would be relieved to have her gone from their life? I held on to any bit of comfort I could and butterflies became a symbol for me of hope.
One day, about nine months after she died, we were in North Carolina in the mountains and we were walking down a trail to a waterfall. I heard the sound of the rushing water and I immediately thought of Emma and how she would have laughed at the sound. She loved funny noises. I felt so overwhelmed with sadness and the tears started coming. Just then, a butterfly came towards me and brushed against my arm and then flew around my head and came back to brush against my cheek. I felt such joy. I knew that Emma was with us and she did hear that sound and she was telling me to have hope. Butterflies became even more meaningful to me then.
Just this week, on Thursday, I saw several butterflies and on that day we found out we had moved on to the next step and we got another picture of Anna. Today I was working on Anna's room. Part of that process involves taking down Emma's stuff so I can put Anna's up and it hurts. I can only do a little bit at a time. I took a break to get the mail and I saw three butterflies on my way to the mailbox. That may seem silly to you, but to me they are reminders that Emma is with us and she is a part of us and I don't have to hold on to the past. I can look to the future because I am not leaving her behind me. I am taking her with me. I thank God for the gentle reminders to keep moving forward. I am so thankful that He is patient and loving when others try to push me to move faster than I can. I am moving as fast as I can and along the way I am finding who I am is who I always was.