Monday, January 5, 2009

A Brand New Year

I have been reading some of the blogs of other women who have lost children this year. It helps to know how that the incredible mix of emotions with which I have been dealing are seemingly universal to coping with such a loss. 

I really believe that our bodies have their own rhythm of grief apart from where our minds go. I may not even be thinking about Camille but just feel inexplicably sorrowful. Then I realize, "Oh yea, it would be 6 months now," or "oh yeah, it is New Year's Day." 

I expected Christmas to be difficult. I guess I didn't expect it so much from New Year's. But somehow my subconscious self took me down a reflective tailspin without my permission. I am still trying to pull myself out of it. 

This stage of the grieving process is brutal. You don't expect it to be so if you haven't been in it. I didn't think it would be in the early months. But here at 6-7 months out life is getting incredibly routine. We are no longer in the spiritual cocoon we were in those early months.  My children have returned to their normal selves with mischief to deal with and behaviors to correct. And I am struggling with how to be the parent I want to be in light of my new understandings.

It pains me to discipline my children. I do it. I know I have to do it. But it just kills me to have to be sharp with them. I have ended up in tears so often after having to correct children of late. Parenting has taken on so much deeper emotion and sometimes it is so difficult to navigate my way through stormy behavior.

Another aspect of this stage of grieving that has been rocking my boat is the dual longing to remember and forget. It is easy in the routine of life now to forget what it was like to have a child in diapers. It is easy to forget high chairs and feedings and early morning wake up cries. It is easy to forget what our life was like just last year. And part of me wants to forget. Part of me wants to leave it in the past and look only forward.

But there is another very tender part that wants desperately to remember always and forever. I want always to remember her sounds and smells and the way she snuggled in my neck. I want to remember what life was like with her in our home, but it is so painful to go there in my mind. 

Great love is so often accompanied by great pain. And in this dichotomy dwells the very essence of our existence in life. We strive to find and develop love. We yearn to fill our souls with it. Each step deeper into this love we risk greater pain to our souls. Yet we do not stop. We must not stop. For life without love is worse than the pain of love lost, or the pain of separation, or the pain of disappointment or hurt loved ones can inflict. 

Still, I am continually amazed at how the Savior can continue to love us so fully and without reservation or emotional guards when we all have hurt him so intensely in one way or another at one time or another. I feel it is my life's work to develop this talent of loving without guarded walls once my heart has been so hurt.

Last night in a night time meeting with the youth of the church we watched a video put out by the church to introduce the new theme for the youth for 2009. It is "A Brand New Year." The youth are focusing on the scripture in Timothy 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

As part of this program the youth were challenged to make new commitments in this Brand New Year on how they will live this scripture. They were asked to commit to pray morning and night, read the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes a day, and Smile - or be happy. In addition they were asked to choose 3 of their own goals of how they can stand stronger as an example of a believer. 

This is such a wonderfully put together program for the youth and it has its own website HERE for anyone who wants to learn more about it. Watching the video, I felt inspired. I too am making these three set commitments. As a family we are learning about church history this year but I personally am going to commit to read the Book of Mormon for 5 minutes each morning as well. I already pray morning and night. 

I am choosing for my other commitments to do 15 minutes of exercise daily (this is the REALLY hard one), to reach out and be friendly daily (blogging and hopefully even more in person), and to help out in Ann Marie's class each day. I hope that these commitments will help me with the one about being happy. I hope they will make my smiles come more naturally.

Here is to a Brand New Year. One that will no doubt be better and worse in many ways from the last. One in which I hope new love will comfort old pain.