Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Other People's Memories and a New Normal

I was catching up on Facebook this morning when I came across a familiar little face in a picture. My sister-in-law had posted a picture of Scarlett from last Christmas. In it, Scarlett is wearing a headband with reindeer antlers on it. She's reaching up to touch the headband, a delighted look on her face.

Last Christmas was the best Christmas of my entire life. And this one is the worst. But I'm still breathing, and I still have hope, and I will get through this. My heart is broken, but it's still beating -- and I know there's a reason for that.

Coming across a picture like that is horrible and wonderful all at the same time. I love my daughter more than I could possibly describe here, and seeing her picture is as close to being with her as I can get now. I also love to know that Jeremy and I aren't the only ones missing her.

Everyone has handled Scarlett's passing differently. And no one knows how to approach it with Jeremy and me. Mostly people don't bring it up. I'm sure they're afraid of upsetting us. I understand that completely. But it's also nice to know that Scarlett is still alive in the memory of everyone who knew her. It's nice to know people still think about her. It makes me feel like her life truly mattered.

Our grief counselor told Jeremy and I that we would have to learn a "new normal." We're still working on that. We're an unusual case, and I know that. Scarlett was our only child, she had just gotten to the age where she was learning to talk, walking with confidence, and understanding the world around her. Jeremy and I were home with her all day, every day, interacting with her every moment. She was the center of everything for us. And when she passed, she took our world with her.

There is nothing familiar about the world we're living in now. We are rebuilding it from scratch. And having trouble conceiving a second child just adds to that sense that our "new normal" is going to be rebuilt very slowly. Having another child is not going to be the world-rocking thing that it was when we had Scarlett -- rather, it's going to be like a big sigh of relief. I am excited about that. I've moved beyond a lot (not all) of the frustration and anger, and I look forward to sharing my memories with another child. I'm waiting with anticipation. But it's not my new normal. It's a step to get there.

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