Baby Elena in chicken costume

Grief

Remembering the Before

October 23, 2017

It’s that time of year again.  When the little ache in my heart grows a little bigger, knots take hold of my stomach and I endure flashback after flashback.  Today I spontaneously broke into tears in my car, simply driving down the road.  The weeks leading up to the day, the day our lives changed forever, are almost always harder than the day itself.

I find myself struggling to remember that, with Elena, there was a before.  There was a time when we were naïve and unaware of the world that is now our life.  I was a new, young working mother dreaming about the future of our new family, and worrying about my “problems”.  It’s easy to look back and think about what I would have done differently, but time doesn’t allow for that.

Every year in the weeks leading up to that day, I replay all the memories I have of the “before”, holding onto them dearly.  Because with every year that passes, those people who were, that time that was, seems to slip further away.   When I look at the last picture we took, I’m filled with a deep sorrow.  I know, now, what’s to come.  And that fear, the grief, the sorrow, the heartbreak are all still very real and tangible.  Perhaps I will relive it for the rest of my life.

And so I wait.  I endure the now.  I wait for the day to arrive so I can remember, cry, grieve.  But I always remember that she lived.  And for that, I owe to God for saving her and for sustaining me the past six years.  Even in the pain, there is always goodness.

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This is Elena. Our Light. You can see all the goodness and joy that shines from those deep blue eyes. She loves sneezes, yawns, industrial toilet flushes, automatic paper towel dispensers and The Star Spangled Banner. Music is her everything, specifically Moana, Frozen (really all Disney), Queen & Taylor Swift. Nothing makes her squeal quite like swimming, fast boat rides and her two brothers in trouble. In addition to her megawatt smile, Elena reminds us to cherish the smallest of victories, to live in the present, and to daily dwell in a posture of gratitude for every breath and every blessing.  

More About Our Story

I’m Emmalee, an ordinary gal born and raised in the Heartland. Wife to Chad, and Mom to Elena, Calvin & Turner, I spend most my days ridin’ dirty (literally so much trash) in my minivan carting kids to and fro. When I’m not being a Momager, I excel at self-care, cooking gourmet meals my kids won’t eat and deep-diving all the feelings. Most days, my attitude is gratitude, just taking life one step at a time.

Emmalee & Elena

Meet The Gals