Yesterday was Emma’s 8th birthday. I would like to thank everyone who reached out to us. Alex and I woke up to balloons and gifts on the front porch from a dear friend. I got numerous texts and several offers of company for the day. Thank you all.
To be honest, I took it harder than I thought I would. I don’t think I have words to describe it, so I won’t even try. All I can say is that claims for grief to lessen with time is lying. The truth is that the grief changes, but I don’t think I would consider it to lessen. It is simply a bit different, but definitely not less.
We did do something special, though it wasn’t pre-planned. Alex and I went to the cemetery for a little while. I was happy to see that we weren’t the first ones to visit. There were different flowers and objects over her resting place. Alex & I had taken the Happy Birthday balloon with us. I had thought that we might just stake it at Emma’s grave, but it was so windy. I asked Alex if she wanted to let it fly away for Emma. I was a little surprised when she said yes. I handed it to her and she let it go. We watched it until it was too high in the sky to spot. I had Alex in her stroller, so I sat on the ground beside her and we just sat for a while. I leaned over to rest my head on the side of the stroller and soon felt Alex’s fingers in my hair. She just petted my hair and we enjoyed the peace and quiet. I don’t know why I am ever surprised when she seems to be the one comforting me.
There was another funeral about to begin, so we went back to the truck, and I realized that Alex was getting upset about leaving. I had thought she might feel emotional while we were there, but hadn’t anticipated that she would feel emotional about leaving. I took her out of her stroller, sat on the ground and leaned against the truck tire for a few minutes while holding her.
Here’s a funny thing about visiting Emma’s grave. It comforts me for two reasons… one is that it is a physical place where I can mourn the loss of her Earthly body and life. Two, she isn’t there. The cemetery serves as a reminder to me that what I grieve is her physical presence in our lives. Her soul is not in the grave. I know it isn’t and that comforts me. I know for certain that our souls and bodies are not one. They are two things and while Emma’s body is not longer with us, her soul is very much still alive. I know it.
When we finally got in the truck, I found a missed call from Drew. He was able to leave work a bit early and so we met him at the monument place.
We had already chosen to use Johnson Monuments in Tontitown because it is a small, locally owned place. The owners were very kind and we picked a nice headstone for Emma. It should be in place in 60 days. I am thankful for that birthday gift to my Emma.
Alex and I headed home and Drew went to visit the cemetery by himself. I think he needed that time and I was glad for him to have it.
So, it was an emotional day, but we made it. All three of us made it. We remembered Emma on her birthday and felt the full spectrum of emotion that accompanied it. Again, thank you all for being such a support to us. I am absolutely certain that there will continue to be days like yesterday. For example, next Wednesday will mark one year since she passed. I think it is impossible for me to say what that day will be like, since I really didn’t anticipate yesterday going like it did. No matter, we will take this life one day at a time, enjoy one moment at a time and give thanks for every moment we have together.