As I lie awake this night, my thoughts turn to all that has been amiss with my emotions this past week. There are moments when I feel almost “normal,” but then a great sadness comes washing over me as I begin to relive every detail of my life with Josie. I hear her voice and laughter ringing in my ears like a sweet melody, I can smell her comforting aroma, I can feel her tender, warm embrace…. My eyes flood with tears as I attempt to choke down the pain so as not to let my little ones notice—but they do. “Love you mommy,” says my three and a half year old, Will, in an attempt to console me, and reassure himself I’m sure! Maya so graciously sacrifices her own feelings of pain and sorrow as she tries to comfort as well… “It will be ok mommy.” Without having spoken a word, these wise little souls know the very longings of my heart. 

My days and memories are now divided between before Josie died, and after—pre-February 6, 2017, and post-February 6, 2017. Before. And After. I cannot help but reference everything about my life in relation to this before/after mark. To me, it explains everything. To others that have never grieved at this depth, there is no use explaining—it is beyond their grasp. Even these writings are perhaps redundant to the normal and unaffected types, but to those of us that have been marked by the before and after, our point of reference has become forever altered. 

I have struggled for days now to find some sort of relevance and meaning for my existence. I arise in the morning and cling to my daily routine as though it’s my lifeline! Simple stuff… like opening the curtains just right to let the light in, cracking the windows to hear the birds, preparing my morning yerba mate tea, smiling at all my pets and children…. My life “before” was one of great aspirations and lofty dreams…I care for none of my previous enterprises.

I wish I could care more, but I don’t. Now, my only motivator each new day is to try and be present for my remaining children (something I have always strived to do, but now I have to really work at it because I am so distracted by my grief). I am not always successful, and there are days I fail miserably, but I do love them so, and they seem to love me back—even when I am hardly the support and strength that they deserve. 

My little Maya has even added to her daily prayers, “Bless mommy that she can be happy.” How this tender plea tugs at my heart, and oh how I wish it were that easy… If only she knew my constant, daily prayer to Father: “Please, bless me with enough strength to tend to the needs of these little ones…”

I truly put forth my absolute, best effort each new day, but to those looking in from the outside, I am pretty sure they don’t see all the pain, and sorrow, and heartache, and brokenness that I am fighting from within. That part of my heart will never mend. I only pray that I can have enough of whatever is needed to finish my job here. I will give every last piece of my broken heart to these ones that need it most and hope it is enough.

6 thoughts on “Before and After.

  1. Michelle, you are one of the best mothers I have ever encountered. You do everything you can for you children. These kids are going to be just as wonderful as Josie. Please believe that.

  2. Michelle, these words are so very powerful. Thank you for sharing your very beautiful thoughts and heart!

  3. As you know, your grandmother lost a child in a car wreck and it put her over the edge. Best to focus on the gift and blessings of those who came into our life, if ever too briefly, and reflect on that joy. I know you don’t know me, but I know your mother well and she loves you and Josie.

    1. Dan, I appreciate your thoughts and comments very much. Yes, my grandmother lost her precious baby, Adam, at two years of age. Ironically, he too lost his life by the careless act of a drunken driver. My grandmother grieves bitterly to this day. The pain never goes away. It helps tremendously to focus on the blessings, and not dwell on the loss, but we are only human. It is much easier said than done! My Grandpa Bud passed last week, on June 25. Baby Adam also died on June 25… My grandma believes he was the one to come get his papa. I believe she’s right. 🌈

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