Another milestone in the first year without Carrie has been reached. This time it’s a birthday, the youngest’s, affectionately known here as “the boy”. The event was marked with great fanfare and celebrated with good friends at the local laser tag place.
Although it has been thirteen years, it does seem like yesterday that we were in the hospital birthing the boy. Okay, I was holding Carrie’s hand. The boy was the little surprise coming a little later in life after we were told we could have no more children—very glad they were wrong.
Just a year ago we celebrated this birthday all together—mom, dad, older brother (except oldest brother who lives a couple of states away). At that time we were still holding on to a small hope that the chemo and radiation treatments had caused the cancer to receded. Of course we now know that the opposite was true. I recall Carrie not feeling well but she participated in the fun with all the gusto she could muster. Even then I wondered what today would feel like if treatments failed.
I must say that this day, like many other milestones, has not been sorrowful. Certainly there is an empty spot where she once was but acknowledging her death as well as remembering her helps to focus on the milestone instead of the absence. If I understand the magnitude of this loss, the empty spot will remain for the rest of our lives. Recognizing and acknowledging the empty spot is part of the integration of loss and allows us to carry on with a healthy and full life. While facing our loss of Carrie, I have tried to lead by example in acknowledging the pain of Carrie’s death. In retrospect, I don’t believe we have run away when this hurt has been remembered. After nearly a year of this process I am confident that this approach has been helpful, yet, only time will tell for sure.
So I close this post with the thought of marching on. Life is yet unfinished and I am filled with wonder of what God has next in store. Whether it is good or not, I know He will remain. And because He remains I can face tomorrow and all the tomorrows to come.