Those words turn over in my mind. She is right. (She will love that statement in black and white.) So is Sandi when she says, "You have a lot of hard work in front of you." Those words are weeks and months old.
Choosing happiness has been a mainstay for me, but I just can't decide not to grieve. To do so would be to grow hard. To do so would mean creating a false apathy that fails to recognize euphoria or despair. The easy choice is to deny the pain even though I miss the joy that used to come so simply, so easily to me. I miss having the conversation starter, the energy to think of others' needs, the desire to believe in accomplishing what others say cannot be done. I feel weak having so much of me so easily stolen that night in July..
Sometimes it feels like the last twenty years has just been a dream. Other times, the memories replay in color. As I was thinking about this post, a memory of an intramural basketball game creeped into my thoughts.. Taylor must have been ten or eleven years old. She was playing point guard and the opposing team had a very emotional player. Taylor's defense gave her fits and more than once the young girl had to be taken out of the game so she could cool off. The opponents outbursts seemed only to steel Taylor's iron will. Midway through the second half, the young lady began playing a great deal more physically. She stood a good head and shoulders taller than our little red head - not that that stopped Tay. She continued to deny the lane and anticipate the passes and consequently began catching a few elbows. A couple of times the bigger ten year old just ran smooth over her and this mama was beginning to forget that I believe in letting my children fight their own battles. I wasn't sure the referees had enough control of the game and didn't like the look in that little ten year old's eyes. Joey kept reassuring me, "She's alright, Mama, Calm down." Taylor's team was winning which only infuriated her opponent more. The body language of the opposing ten year old who was a good seven inches bigger than my little girl said, "I've been stopped for the last time." She was angry and as the last minute of the game began to tick away, the opposing ten year old began to bring the ball up the court. Taylor stood, feet slightly staggered, weight centered, hands inside her body ready to pick up the opponent at the top of the key. As the opponent crossed center court, I saw the opponent duck her head and her shoulder and head straight for Taylor. I saw Taylor take a step toward half court. I stood up. I yelled forcibly - "Hey!" taking a step down the bleachers toward the court only to feel Joey's hand at my hip pocket pulling me back down.
I am not sure what I would have done if the final buzzer had not sounded and the referee had not stepped in front of the other little girl impeding her momentum and grabbing the basketball. I was sure the other little girl was going to take Taylor out, and I was not going to let that happen. Oh my...
It was just a ten year old girls' intramural basketball game, but the warning bells in this mom were ringing, and I couldn't just sit and watch it happen. I just don't play victim well.
Thus, my battle today. How do I not become a victim to this? I would not have been much of a deterrent to the car careening toward Taylor and Josie and Price that night in July but it would have been instinctual to try. I am looking for that instinct to preserve the parts of me that can't be lost in this - the joy Julie doesn't want me to let harden or be locked away.
I am thankful to finally know what I am working towards. Just working to "get over this" or "move on" did not make sense to me. There's no moving on at the loss of a child. When I hear that phrase, I hear the word abandon. There are so many emotions that come with that word - but that's another post. Tonight, my one good thing is the light my friends continue to shine on me, the prayers you each continue to pray over my family so we can fight for joy.
"The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still." Exodus 14:14