Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Working through it

I've talked about the chronic grief we lived with for the last four years: losing a typically developing child, gaining a child with severe disabilities and all the trauma that that event included. The sadness of what Annie lost herself, although it mercifully never seemed to bother her. And, now the physical loss of her and her place in our lives. Every one of our lives revolved around this little Miss in an intense way--every decision, every plan, everything included her. She really was the center of our universe in many ways.

And yet, it has surprised me that our time now doesn't seem to be empty, in the sense that we have long spans of hours with nothing to do. Going through Annie's things and deciding what to keep and what to give away has been cathartic to me. It's been comforting to see equipment like her wheelchair and activity chair go to children whose lives will be improved by using them. And also comforting to choose some of her things to keep out nearby to remind us of Her Little Self, like the blankets I gave to each of the kids to keep in their rooms, along with any of her stuffed toys they wanted.

Then there's the mountain of thank you notes that I'm working on. We have been overwhelmed with the many expressions of sympathy from you all--so many kind cards, gifts, flowers--it has been a daily reminder that God loves us and is walking through this with us. And the notes I'm writing are a pleasure, because it's like experiencing again the things you've done for us.

Also, soon we'll design Annie's headstone and having that placed on her grave. I have conflicting emotions about graves, I'll admit, because I so clearly see her with Jesus, and not in the ground. But we'll do it, and it will be a sweet reminder of young Annalee.

I've also appreciated the time I've had with the older kids and Bill to process what happened four years ago, all the events of the last four years, and of course, the things from the last few months. It's been good to have time to talk, and to listen when the kids come in and sit down with tears in their eyes. Just hearing their perspective of events, their questions about why, and what do I do when people talk about Annie and I just want to cry? It's all work, but it's all good.

Again...we know you all are praying, and those prayers form a blanket of comfort around us.

Working through it,


You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?  Psalm 56:8


Anonymous said...

That's right.

Gretchen said...

One of the things I love about you & your family is that I never feel hurried in your presence. And, though it would be tempting to hurry your grief out the door, somehow, i think it would still hang in & around you. How wise you are to sit with it for a bit, share it, allow the tears , & work through the memories & treasures w/the same grace & purpose that you showed in loving Annie here on earth. Hugs.

Marilyn said...

Recently I had added "Prayers" (the prayers of the saints) to my list of things that I understood, biblically, to last into eternity. Along with the "Word of God" and the "Souls of Man". I had forgotten "Tears". Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Caring and praying
Sue Powell

Lana C. said...

Perhaps living with such huge changes over the past few years has created a different level of introspection within you and your family than most people confront...losing a disabled family member that you have cared for so intensely is difficult to describe. The loss is different. They way your life is impacted is on a different level. Your strength and beautiful spirit is contagious. Your sharing is a sweet tribute to Annie and to the dedication of your family to all things love and patient.

Lana C.

Jean said...

Gretchen--I'll tell you, I'm moving in slower motion than I have in years. No hurrying here. :)

Marilyn--I wonder if "Tears" are eternal? Rev. 21:4 says "God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Another question to ask Him when I get there. ;-)

Sue--Thanks for continuing to remember us. :)

Lana--Thanks for your kind words. I have to say, when I read your blog, it helps me understand how Annie must have felt as an Addisonian. It helped me, and I hope it helps other parents of kids with Addison's.


Pam said...

The sheer fact that your kids want to come and sit and talk with you, and cry with you, speaks volumes about your love and care for each of them. You had a monumental task in caring for Miss Annie, yet you never lost sight of your other kids and how much they needed you. How you (and Bill) did that can only be explained by the Holy Spirit working in and through well as protecting and carrying your kids. How can anyone get through it without Him?

"You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
Isa 44:8

uncle jeff said...


Lana C. said...


I needed to say...Thank you.

Lana C.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jean,
I understand exactly what you are writing. No time for sadness when you are in the midst of caring for a newly special needs child. How strange this loss must feel for you. My heart aches alongside you, I can imagine your void.

With many prayers and compassion,