I tell myself I’m protecting my family and friends from my pain and my grief.
That’s not really true.
The truth is it’s really me I’m trying to protect. I’m afraid to show them this part of me. I’m afraid they won’t understand. I’m afraid they’ll judge me or think less of me for it. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m not spiritual enough. I am afraid they will think of me as weak.
I’m afraid of being told I should get over it.
The truth is my first thought every morning is of them. My last thought every night before I go to sleep is of them. I dream of them often and wake up crying when I realize, once again, they aren’t here and never will be.
I will never get over the absence of them in my life. They are part of me and I am part of them. Part of me will always reside with them, wherever they are beyond this physical world. Part of them will always reside here with me, unseen and unheard here in this physical world.
They are my daughters and I am missing every moment of the lives they should have lived with me.
Every birthday comes with no little girls to celebrate and watch grow another year older.
Every holiday passes with their seats empty at the table.
Every life milestone remains unachieved because there is no one here to accomplish them.
Every day I come home to an empty, quiet house.
Every wall remains bare of pictures and child-drawn art.
Every hug and every kiss never given because they are not here to give or receive them.
I don’t hate my life. I have made something beautiful and wonderful from it. I pulled my life out of the ruins of loss and crafted beauty from it.
My joy and happiness in my life don’t negate the deep and continuous longing for the children I never got to know.
The truth is my joy and my grief coexist simultaneously. They cannot be separated and one will never truly exist without the other.
My greatest joy is the life and love of my daughters.
My deepest sorrow is the death and loss of them.
Perhaps this cannot be understood unless it is lived. Many will be unable to understand. Many will likely say I should get over it and let go. I may very well be seen as less spiritual or evolved. Some may think less of me for the grief burns through my heart and flows from my eyes.
And maybe that’s ok.
I am proud to be Grace and Lily’s mother. They are the source and substance of my strength. I will long for them until the day I join them in whatever comes next. I will live my life filled with both joy and sorrow. I will live with both gratitude for their lives and grief for their deaths.
When I go to sleep tonight, my last thought will be of them.
When I awaken tomorrow, my first thought will be of them.
It will never be enough. I will always long for more.
But I will embrace it all, the joy and the sorrow, until I close my eyes and join them in whatever comes next.