Wednesday, April 10

letters, longing and gratitude

There's a holy longing welling up in me today, and for the first time in awhile, I feel like I'm fully myself: I'm missing Gwendolyn. And I'm reminded once again that missing her, longing for her, is an integral part of my makeup - I am her mom, and I miss her.

I'm cleaning out drawers, finding treasures among the scraps: letters written to Gwendolyn, letters to me on her first birthday, words flowing with love and mourning and hope. Heavenly Day is playing and I'm weeping, remembering.

Do you know that we were loved so well when she fell asleep? Christ in one thousand faces. And remembering how people loved, ached and questioned too... it makes me ache. There are things I didn't know; our church held a prayer meeting where people cried and prayed and questioned. For us! For her! Just to know that for a time, others knew and felt... I feel less alone.

I'm farther away from her and it makes people feel unsure about asking- please ask. I'm closer to her and it makes me hopeful, as if the apparition of her is solidifying into flesh the closer Heaven comes.

Life change is around the corner, and I'm afraid of leaving a place where she existed, where her kicks were felt and she kept me up at night, stretching, breathing to make more room for her ten pounds. I'm afraid of losing the faces that knew her best, knew our tear streaked faces. Will I lose her again when I move away from the closest reminder of her reality?

What will my son think as he grows? Will he grow up in a shadow or a hope? Awkwardness or acceptance? I wonder. I wonder how we will continue to love and long through the years, with strangers becoming friends and our son being the not-oldest-oldest child.

Do you think that gratefulness is always undergirded by loss? We're thankful for the things we have because we know we could have not. I'm thankful for Cai's sleeping face, steady breathing, watching the wheels turn as he discovers, his five toothed grin, "mama" and "dada" and "no". Would I have been this thankful if I didn't know what it was like to wonder, to grieve? Would I be thankful still, even if I didn't have him? Grief creates tunnel vision; narrowing your thoughts to your own ache and soul and missed moments. But isn't there life outside the tunnel that should also garner thanks? That must be the mystery of the Spirit at work, breathing in and out "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him."

I'm called away by sleepy whimpering;

I'm thankful.


  1. I know since your loss I have been more grateful for things that I used to grumble about. Getting up in the middle of the night is something to rejoice about. I find myself in the middle of tantrums or poopy messes saying "at least I have my child here to care for"... And just as I wrote that Camden spilled a cup in the living room :-)

  2. Sweet Erin - I heard the song "Need You Now" by Plumb this morning and thought of you. I actually think of you a lot most weeks and I am sorry I have failed to tell you this. I was 6 months pregnant with Annie when Gwendolyn went to be with Jesus and I can remember physically hurting and grieving with and for you. I have prayed and questioned so hard ... your blog has breathed so much life into me. I look forward to your new adventure, getting to know you better and spending time keeping Gwendolyn's memory alive!!