It was one year ago today that our Jennifer left her earthly home for her heavenly home.  Only a year ago but it seems like a lifetime.  Only a year since I have been able to hold her hand, stroke her pretty hair, sing to her. Only a year…

We are told that “it will get better with time “.  What will get better?  Our lives were changed forever last December 19th.  We lost our daughter, Robert lost a sister, Wesley lost his Aunt Jenn and sweet Doug lost his wife.  We all lost a part of our heart and that will never be restored.  There are no bandaids or quick fixes for a loss of this magnitude.  Everything is different now.

The numb feeling that I felt last year was intense.  Getting through the holidays was almost robotic.  Being surrounded by family and friends certainly helped but the memories of the days immediately following her death are fuzzy.  Is it because my grief was so overwhelming or am I trying to block those days out of my mind?  The pain that was felt not only by me but also by family members is a pain that defies any explanation.  It is a deep, raw pain that takes your breath away.  The heartache is real and indescribable.  Unless you have experienced this yourself, there is no way that you can even begin to understand.  Losing a parent or a sibling in no way compares to losing a child.  The child that you gave birth to, nurtured and loved as much as was humanly possible, is suddenly taken from you and no matter the age, your child is your child.  Jennifer is and always will be our little girl; age makes no difference.  Robert will always be our little boy.

Today, one year later, the numb feeling remains but it is a different kind of numbness.  We know where Jennifer is.  We know we will see her again one day.  We go about our daily lives doing the things we must do, meeting deadlines, getting ready for the holidays, but it’s different now.  Some things are not as important now.  Having the perfect decorations for Christmas doesn’t seem to matter as much.  Does it really matter if  we don’t have enough food at Christmas to feed the entire street?  It’s not about the food or the decorations anyway.  Being with family is what matters.  Spending  time with those you love is what matters.

With that being said though, some of the joy is gone.  The anticipation of wondering and waiting to see her face light up when she opens that surprise gift and then hearing her squeal and laugh with delight is a memory now.  Seeing her look at me like I had lost my mind or hearing her say, “Mom, seriously??” when I would suggest a certain gift for someone or actually buy something that I thought was a great idea, only to return it and buy something else. Listening to her or watching her stress over finding the perfect gift for Doug, Robert, Caitlin and Wesley was at times a form of entertainment and at on occasion, a time of frustration.  Did the color really matter?  Did it have to be as perfect as possible?  For her, the answer was always a resounding yes.  Nothing but the best would do for her beloved family.  She loved her family so much and tried to show that in so many ways.  She loved her aunts, uncles and cousins.  She always looked forward to spending time with them, telling stories on each other and laughing.  Jennifer truly loved to laugh.

Today, Rob and I have been overwhelmed with the many phone calls, text messages and gifts of remembrance.  It is obvious that Jennifer was loved by many and touched the lives of many.

Why did she have to leave us at such a young age?  Did God really need her more than we did?  As sad as I am today, as many tears that I have shed today, I manage to smile a little bit when I think of all of the little children that she is taking care of in Heaven.  I can see her hugging little children like Lachlan and laughing that special laugh of hers and I smile.  I’m sure the little children are running around, holding her hand and playing as hard as they can.  She is running, too.  Her legs are healed, her body is healed and she is whole again.  When I think of that even in the midst of numbness, I manage to smile.  Love has no boundaries and is not confined to a particular area. Love is everywhere.

As this day comes to an end, we grieve and will continue to grieve for you.  No matter how much time will pass you will always be our little girl.  We will always love you and we will always miss you.

Give Mama, Daddy, Bobby, Billy, Nancy, Papa Jack and Louise a hug for us.  We love them and miss them, too.