Monday, December 22, 2014

Sacred Ground

I sometimes stand above her headstone and wonder how it is even possible that I am standing over my daughter’s grave. Five and half years later and I still have trouble believing this all really to happened us. To her.

I know that everything that she was going to be, does not exist here. I know that energy does not die, & hers was released into the universe and it exists in a sense, in a realm, that I, we, cannot understand. I know that who the baby, the little girl, the woman, that she would’ve become, now exists in my, in our, hearts and mind. I feel her there. I see her there. 

But this place where her body lays, next to my father and my grandfather, is still very sacred. It holds the beautiful baby girl I was lucky to carry for almost 8 months. I can still see her pearly pink coffin sitting above her resting spot, the image burned into my mind. I see it every. single. day. It’s not something any parent should have to experience. I often wonder how I walked away from her that day. How I left her there, alone. The shock and awe still had a grip on me and wouldn’t wear off until weeks later. If her funeral had been held at a later date, they would have had to drag me kicking and screaming away from her. And if they tried, I would have asked to go with her. Grace was lost from me as the weight of grief consumed my soul, and then just as I may have asked, I ended up being buried alive by the sorrow and anguish. 

We’ve recently moved away from our hometown. I am now quite a drive away from her. There is a part of me that feels guilty for “leaving” her, as does Jonathan. Mother’s guilt is a guilt of it’s own kind. It keeps us up at night worrying about what we may have done wrong that day with our children. But a surviving parent’s guilt, that is guilt in it’s cruelest form. Until you’ve learned to manage it, and even after you have learned to keep it at bay, it eats at your soul with “what-ifs” and “should’ve beens”…. I know it’s silly. I know she’s not there. But I have had to leave her too many times. In the hospital, at the funeral home, at the cemetery. I had to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and learn to move on, one day at a time, after she died. Without her. And though we know we are doing what is needed to honor her life and live ours, moving on feels at times like betrayal. We know, with certainty and clarity that it is not, but that is what survivor’s guilt does best. Makes the irrational seem rational. 

I am so thankful for the place I am at today. Five and half years of navigating & nurturing my grief has landed me back on my feet. The trickiness of balancing life’s joys and sorrows can be tough at times, but I am doing it. I am living again. Loving. Laughing. But there is always a part of me that is always longing, for her. Especially during this season.

Merry Christmas baby girl.

We love you and wish you were here. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A First Lost, A First Gained

Today, there is one extra pink backpack hanging on a store wall. One additional pretty dress still hanging on the rack. One more pair of sparkly shoes still sitting on the store shelf.

I should’ve been sending her off to Kindergarten today. I should be wiping tears of separation anxiety off my cheeks this morning, not stifling gut wrenching sobs of grief these past few days in the lead up to this should’ve-been milestone. Time has eased the pain but on these days, there is no way to escape the gaping hole in my life and heart she left behind. 

Today, in a change of fate, I will be sending her baby brother off to his first day of preschool. This afternoon at recess time, there will be a missing Kindergartner and an empty swing on that playground, and instead this morning, there will now be a little preschooler to fill it.

His life is a precious gift that came out of the brokenness her death left us with. So although five years ago I envisioned this day in a very different light, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his presence in our family and for the opportunity to watch him grow and experience this life, this world, with fresh eyes and excitement.

Our family's story did not end with our daughter's death, it continued on with the blessing of a sweet little boy who we could not imagine our lives without. He and his big brother fill our lives with joy and love, but their sister's life and our grief will always be a part of us.

Our lives have become a balance between the life we lost and the joyful life we have. And though our joys allow us to love our lives again, they do not negate our pain. And today, my heart is cracked back open.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Carry Your Heart

Five years ago today, her heart stopped beating. She was born the following morning. But she still lives…in the part of my soul reserved only for her…

A poem I love.....

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; 
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) 

i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) 
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart 

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

-e.e. cummings

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Choosing Joy

This post was originally published on Still Standing Magazine on February 1, 2014

Choosing Joy by Malory Jimenez

Morning sunbeams light the room.
I stir from my slumber.
My eyes open slowly.
My mind shifts from dreamland to reality.
My senses awaken.
The house is calm and quiet.
The sounds of birds chirping fill my ears.
They remind me of spring.
Spring reminds me of her.
I focus in on thoughts of her.
That’s all I have.
I say it in mind.
“She’s gone.”
“She died.”
“We buried her.”
My thoughts of her cause me to remain still.
Just as she was.
Sometimes, I say it aloud.
“My daughter died.”
Forcing the truth out of myself into the world.
Validating her existence.
I remove all of the softening words.
I didn’t lose her.
She didn’t fly away.
She didn’t drift off to sleep.
She didn’t pass.
“She died.”
It still takes my breath away.
My thoughts carry on…
“I will live the rest of my life without her. “
“She will not live hers.”
“How can this be?”
“How am I still breathing?”
Life breaks in.
The haunting flashbacks stop.
Little voices call my name.
I hear the pitter-patter of their running feet.
Toward me.
I wipe the single tear off my cheek.
Before they see it.
They burst in.
Full of life.
I’m engulfed by two little boys.
In tickles.
And kisses.
Sweet moments before the chaos.
My feet touch the floor.
My day begins.
I continue on.
And face each day.
Just as I have for the past four-and-a-half years.
Each day I am met with an option.
Defeat or perseverance.
Each day the choice has become easier.
I’ve had to relearn how to be happy.
And each day I consciously choose joy.
I embrace healing.
I possess courage.
And strength.
Her gift to me.
My life keeps going.
Without her.
Yet, with her.
In the only way possible.
In memories.
In passing thoughts.
In my heart.
She is weaved through my soul.
She may have died.
But her mother’s love did not.
It is abundant and enduring.
It sustains me with enough love to love this life.
This broken, non-perfect, yet still sweet life.
And because she lives within me.
I choose life.
For both of us.

My hope for you, for my fellow loss sisters who are  fresh in their anguish and for my sisters who are still in the darkness of their grief, is that one day, you too will find the light. The light that illuminates the path to joy. The light I never thought I would see again. But I did. Because this community held me up until I could stand, then held my hand until I could walk, then kept their arms outstretched when I gained the courage to run towards the light, toward joy, toward my future. I fell back into their arms a few times, and I know I will again in future days. That is the beautiful thing about this, about my sisterhood here, is that the acknowledgement, love, support, and encouragement, supplies me with the strength I need when I run out.  And because of that, this sacred community will always hold a piece of my reconstructed heart. So pull strength from my words. Find hope, encouragement, & possibilities of brighter days. Find the love that was released through my fingertips and has been  woven through my message to you. I wish for you comfort, healing, peace, and joy once more.

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