…not a single one has passed that I haven’t thought of her.
Five years. How has it been five years since the longest and shortest 26 hours of my life? So much has happened in the years since Kate’s birth. It sometimes feels like compassionate Father Time is smoothing the jagged, painful edges of the memories into something more gentle and palatable. I don’t know whether to say thank you or to lash out in protective anger. Part of me appreciates the dulling of the pain while a huge part of me is rebelling at its fading… wanting to feel every second of it, willing to bleed…to know and remember forever.
No matter how much time passes these yearly anniversaries are the biggest hurdle. They continue to be arresting and suffocating. Perhaps a disguised mercy is that because Kate’s life was so brief I was spared many of the more frequent, surprising triggers that affect others who have lost loved ones. We never shared mornings, milestones or a lifetime of memories...just brief moments that pack themselves into two unforgettable days.
In the past five years I have been called upon to reach out to, support and counsel other grieving mothers. Also, I have been asked multiple times by my friends and family for advice or words of love and encouragement to share with grieving parents they know. My love and dedication to Kate has made these missions of support and understanding possible. In these moments, I have the unmistakable feeling that Kate is with me serving as my foundation of strength and support so I can in turn share strength, experience and an exemplified promise of tomorrow with others that are hurting.
I treasure these moments when I feel Kate is close, but I feel closest to Kate through my sweet Ben. Even though he was only two and a half when she was born he has the deepest most amazing connection with her. While my body will forever have the most direct physical connection to her life and our hearts once beat together, Ben’s tender heart has a direct connection to her spirit for which I am so very thankful. (Their connection really is incredible to experience!)
My grief continues to and will forever be a journey. Kate’s life and death fractured my foundation and have forever changed my life, but I have found my path and continue to walk in the shoes of a grieving mother. The painful shoes I put on five years ago are beginning to soften as I break them in more and more every day...every year. I am ready to take the next step in celebrating Kate’s life and legacy.
Thank you for your outpouring of love and support over the past five years. As cliche as it sounds, I could not have made it through without you. I look back at my "Drowning" post when things were the darkest and realize how far I have come. I made it out of the rabbit hole, out of the trenches, out of the darkness. I am forever changed, but I am okay. I am stronger. I have been blessed with good, lasting and meaningful experiences that were made possible by Kate. She continues to make a difference...she inspires me to be better and do better every day.