For the past six weeks or so, Evan and I have been attending a grief workshop at First Pres Church which has been a really positive experience for both of us. We have gained some great tools for working through the loss of our daughter, and we've learned a good deal about ourselves and each other. One of the recent activities of the workshop was to write a letter to the person who died. Here is my letter to Cora.
Dear Cora Lane, my baby girl,
At this moment I am a bit sore, both body and soul. I've been working on the back yard, and I feel I'm doing it for you. Every bit of effort I put forth feels like grief seeping from my body.
You should be here. Everything about life now feels incomplete because you're not in it. I wish you could have heard me say "I love you," face to face. I wish I could have heard your voice and cry. You have given me the gift of becoming a mother. You are my first, and so I thank you for ushering me into motherhood, although I am not the kind of mother I would have liked to be.
Cora, I believe you are not worried about me, but I want you to know that I love you very much. Your daddy and I miss you, and we can't wait to see you again in Heaven. I can't even describe the ache I have now to hold you in my arms, to rock and feed you; to give you all my love. Daddy aches too.
I'm angry that I didn't get to experience you, and I'm sad that God took you from me. I feel deprived (robbed, even) of your cry, your laugh, your eyes, your crawling, walking, running, singing and playing, your thinking, first day of school, first loose tooth, first boyfriend, your wedding day, your children. I can only imagine the life you are living now in Glory. How amazing that must be!
Some days I feel guilty for taking advantage of having our "child-free"days extended. Honestly, it's nice at times, and that feels selfish. Most days I don't care about being "free." All I want is you.
I have had to ask the Lord's forgiveness for hating him so much the day we found out you were gone. I felt totally abandoned by him. Nowadays, I know God is with us, carrying us through. He has loved us well through this, and I'm learning more about him because of our experience. (I love the fact that you know Jesus intimately now, much better than I!) But, we don't dream like we used to. When you were still here, we would take walks and talk about your future, what color eyes you'd have, if you'd be musical, athletic or both. I miss the dreaming. Now our walks are just quiet.
I think I have accepted that you are really gone. Somedays it still doesn't seem real, more like a nightmare from which we have yet to awaken. Most usually, however, I feel your loss acutely -physically, spiritually, emotionally. Now I have to face moving forward and all that comes with it: possibly getting pregnant again, feeling joy and hope again, trusting God (even though at times that seems the most difficult). I want to find ways to take you with me into the future. I'm afraid of my next pregnancy even though I want it. I'm afraid of losing you further through it. I'm afraid of the next baby dying. But, I'm more afraid of not moving forward in life. I love you, Cora, but I don't want to get stuck here.
It was so hard to make the adjustment from expecting joy at becoming your mother to accepting the confusion and pain at your death. There are more adjustments to come as we journey on. Through it all, I do want to hold on to that sweet, motherly pride I felt when I saw you for the first time. I suppose I will never let go of that. I need to keep remembering you, to keep writing and praying and throwing myself on the mercy of God. It is there that we all must fall. I thank God that you always were and always will be there with Him.
I love you, Cora,