Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Two Years Without You {Dancing a Dance Of Grief}

"Life is not about how you survive the storm; it's about how you dance in the rain."

Two years. Two years of learning to dance in the rain without you, J. She has learned how to dance beautifully in the rain. Maybe it's because she is young, and heaven doesn't seem so far away (or hard to understand), but she is dancing so beautifully without her birthmama. Sometimes I just watch her and I'm in complete awe of her, that at 4.5 years old, she lost one of the most important people in her life, and yet she still dances, full of joy. She misses you greatly, but she's learned a secret that I never have, or perhaps had at one point, and life and age changed it for me. I hope she never loses her naivety and keeps dancing in the storms that life may blow her way.
One of the very first things I heard shortly after your death was a woman talking about how she could dance (even in her grief) because she had Jesus. I promised then to dance even when it was hard. It's been so hard sometimes, J. I literally hate that you are gone. Maybe, as a Christian that is wrong, being that God designates the days of our life, but as a person who loved you, it's honest. I hate that our little girl has to go through the rest of her life never knowing you. I hate that you can never see her as a gymnast. She had her first competition a few weeks ago, and all I could think about was that you weren't there to see it, or at least be able to see pictures later. I hate that two years has gone by so quickly, yet also seemed so slow. I can't imagine looking down the road to five, or even ten years without you. It seems so unfathomable to me.
I took Xiomara to visit your mama and G & G this year. It was a beautiful, healing trip filled with tears of sadness and joy all mixed together. Your mama just kept saying, "J would have just loved this.". And I know she's right. You would have. Xiomara loved it, and keeps talking about one day going to visit her birth family in Georgia again. I sat at the foot of your grave and finally got to say goodbye to you. I'm not sure how to describe it, but for me, it was the most healing thing even though it was hard. I felt like you were right there. Sitting next to me as I wept, whispered promises, and said goodbye. I guess when our hearts our connected through our daughter, eternity doesn't break that connection.
Two years of grieving the loss of you seems unreal. For me grief looks like wondering what you were doing on this day (the day before) two years ago. Grief wonders if you had any idea you were going to die. Grief asks if you thought of Xiomara in the moments before you met Jesus. Grief mourns the reality that I will never know those answers; at least not on this side of heaven. Grief remembers that day and questions if maybe I somehow knew you were gone in the days before I was told.
I don't know if I've learned to dance in the rain these past two years, but I've sure tried. Those of us who loved you were all forced into the rain of grief, and we've all had to work our way through the storm of emotions that come at various times. Grief has looked at times like happiness, and other times it has been a flood of tears. It's been subtle, it's been anger, it's been depression, it's been anxiety, it's been devastation, it's been OK, and it's been peace. Those of us who loved you deeply, have danced the dance of grief because we loved you so much, J. And we still do.

To my sweet Xiomara, you have danced a dance of grief that no little girl should ever have to dance. I know you miss her, and I know you always will. She was a part of you. Remember what mama has always told you, because you love her and she loves you, that love doesn't change just because she is in heaven and you are here on earth. Love transcends eternity, because God is love. J will forever live on in your little heart, as you are a part of her.

This morning we danced together in the golden sunlight spilling through our dirty windows. We danced in celebration of your life, and we were happy, even if there were some tears. And I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, I'm dancing in the rain of grief better than I ever thought I could. J, we love you and today we keep dancing as we send our love to you in heaven.