Well, the day came and went. Time promised that awful milestone would come, and as promised, it did. The day of Charlie’s four month angelversary was a gut wrenching, painful day for me. Being in the majestic surroundings of Glacier National Park actually seemed to confound my grief as I felt guilty for being sad in such a beautiful place. And I felt trapped. I know, ironic right? Feel trapped in 1.4 million acres of amazing wilderness!?! It was an odd feeling to have but I wanted to escape, run, do anything but experience that pain. But I couldn’t run or escape it. (Funny how I keep trying huh? I’ve written at least two times about the futility of avoidance and yet it still tempts me).
Well, after trying to suppress the pain throughout the morning and early afternoon, the late afternoon hit and I bubbled over. Tears pricked my eyes constantly. I wore my sunglasses to try to hide the tears and I didn’t say much as I didn’t want to be a “Debby Downer.” But it was pretty obvious to Chad and my mother-in-law that I was having a hard time. Even Hailee picked up on my mood.
We headed to a local restaurant for dinner and I held Hailee in my arms. As we were being seated, Hailee turned to me and said, “I miss baby brother.” That DID it. I went to the restaurant bathroom and balled. I sat on the toilet for awhile just letting my grief for Charlie wash over me. My mother-in-law came in to check how I was doing and I struggled to pull myself together. Instead of returning to the restaurant, I walked outside, beyond the parking lot, to a river bank. I stood on the river bank, watching the sun set over the amazing mountains through tear filled eyes and I told God, “I’m DONE. I can’t do this. I can’t handle this. I GIVE up.”
I just felt so defeated. I try SO HARD to keep going, to grow, to HOPE, to LIVE and when the pain comes so sharply and so deeply as it did on his angelversary day, I just felt, well, as I said, defeated.
And then a wonderful thing happened. Something I have been missing for awhile now. I felt tangible, divine help. Suddenly I felt calm. Not peace exactly, but I’ll take calm. It was so subtle it would have been easy to dismiss it. You know when you’ve been crying for a long time and you exhaust yourself and feel better? It felt like that. I know it wasn’t self-generated because I did not get the opportunity to emotionally vent to the degree necessary to produce such a calmness. Just the opposite, my torrent of emotions was just beginning. And then I felt calm. I felt very grateful for that calm. It lasted the rest of the evening and the next day I was able to once again, get up. I was also able to enjoy the rest of the trip with my family.
Because we were in Glacier National Park for Charlie’s angelversary, I did his service project early. With the help of my awesome mom who was in town,
We sewed and quilted this baby quilt:
For some special boy at Primary Children’s hospital. This quilt meant a lot to me because this is the type of quilt I would’ve made for Charlie, had I gotten around to making him a quilt. I remember looking at this specific fabric right around when he was born and I had it on my “to do” list to make him a baby quilt…but I kept putting it off. Since I can’t wrap Charlie up in this quilt, it makes me happy to know that some deserving family will get to put their special baby boy on it for hours of play, tummy time, picnics, naps, etc.