Two Months: Missing Her

Disclaimer:  You know those cooking shows where they stick something in the oven and almost simultaneously bring out the perfectly baked result? I hope that this doesn’t read like the blog equivalent of “the magic of television.” The last thing I want is to make grief look quick and easy. It’s the exact opposite.

Julianna has been gone for two months today, but I have been grieving for almost five years. It started when Julianna was one. I grieved for missed milestones, then lost milestones (infinitely harder)…and it just went on. Grief will be my constant companion, so I might as well get comfortable with it.

Part I

Sometimes, the rationalizations, responsibilities and remembrances aren’t enough.

I just miss her. In my marrow, in my heart, my mind, my soul, and in my gut. In the deepest part of me, I miss her.

They say life goes on, and so it does. The sun rises and sets each day (thank you for all the pink, God and Julianna…) and there are bills to pay. There are diseases to fight and legacies to shape. A family to love, friends with whom to reconnect, patients to help. It’s all important, and I am blessed – truly. I am grateful for all of this.

 

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Sunrise


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Sunset. Julianna’s windchimes. 

 

Sometimes, though, the horrible, glaring and massive void has to be acknowledged: I had a daughter, and she was pure joy. She’s gone now, and I will never see her again – not on this earth. It’s messed up and it’s wrong. I don’t like it.

There, I said it, and I feel better. I can spend the rest of the evening being semi-productive and appreciating life. I am, after all, Julianna’s mother. She would expect nothing less.

(But I reserve the right to come back to this place when I need. I miss her all the time. Sometimes, I have to take time – and just miss her. )

 

Part II

The remembrances do help.

A few days after Julianna died, my cousin sent me all the pictures she could find. I had asked for them, but I wasn’t ready to look at them until this week. (The remembrances hurt sometimes too, you see…).

When Julianna and Alex were almost two and four, they were asked to be in my cousin’s wedding. J was at the peak of her strength then, and had started using a walker. I hoped desperately that she’d be able to walk down the aisle with it.

It didn’t happen, but we made do. We decorated  a wagon, and she sat in a cloud of white tulle and lavender petals like the princess she was,  her beloved Alex leading the way.

She was proud and delighted. So was Alex.

For some reason, we don’t have pictures of this moment. No one I’ve asked has any either.

Among the pictures my cousin sent, though, was this — from the rehearsal dinner.

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After the wedding, we went on one of those duck-boat tours. It was a perfect July day in Seattle.

 

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I remember the joy and wonder in Julianna’s face as the bus became a boat and we came onto the sparkling water of Lake Stevens. It’s one of my happiest memories.

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Part III

Do you have angels? I have angels…

— Julianna

 

When we went through the worst, there was always a light.

One of Julianna’s nurses told me to look for this light. Even if it was tiny, we needed to cling to it, and it would grow.

Sometimes she was our light. When she took care of Julianna, we felt safe. (Think about what that means when your child is in the ICU and struggling…). She was the kind of nurse who, if something happened to go wrong on her watch, we would have been at peace knowing that Julianna was in the best, most loving hands. We trusted her that much.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending her wedding.

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Amidst the light and the love, Julianna was there. I was sure of it.

 

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26 thoughts on “Two Months: Missing Her

  1. Love, Michelle! I love it that you are brave – you are a very brave, courageous Mama, who is aware of your own Sad & Grief, & you’re not afraid to Acknowledge it. Please do – & continue to. Not because we revel in your Sad (no!!!), but because it takes a certain kind of brave vulnerability to admit to our Sad. & I think acknowledging this Sadness is part of healthy coping with grief.

    You could very well have chosen to talk abt Julianna sunsets, the statue, superpower shirts (I made my friends get me one as a birthday gift heh – YAY, win!), the general Pinkness of life, and all the general pink fluffy J-things that are pink, fluffy, J-happy – and they are, and I’d love to read them. But yet, focusing on those alone would be less authentic/accurate to the full picture of your reality. & I virtual grouphug all of you for your courage & vulnerability to keep saying again and again, – “our family had a J. CMT took her away – I don’t like this, I hate CMT, #stupidCMT & I reserve the Right to come back to my Sad Place whenever.” Because you do. & because admitting (more so, on a public space) to Sad is hard.

    Meantime, God holds your family, as He does, Julianna’s hand in heaven :’) Keep doing whatever you’re doing, you’re keeping on well just the way you are 🙂 🙂 (& if you’re not, holler around you for help – no shame, I pinky-promise!) hugs, always here remembering Julianna on the sidelines – I can’t always buy stuff, but I will Do Stuff! Like, birthday. Hehe 🙂

    There is a hope that stands the test of time,
    That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
    To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
    When I behold His face!
    When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
    And every longing satisfied.
    Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
    For I am truly home :’)))

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  2. Praying for you and your family that our Lord will comfort you and give you strength. I can’t imagine the ache you must feel in the lost of J. I know you are happy that she no longer suffers but at the same time your hearts carry heavy sorrow. Please know that many are praying for you and our Lord hears us.

    Scarlett

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  3. Of course you have to acknowledge the hurt and grief.. the very depth of it.

    In that picture, on the duck boat, Julianna looks at the sparkling water.. I suspect her inner mermaid was stirring then.

    Just knowing about that nurse makes me smile and want to send her strength for all she sees and love for all she does.

    Sending love to all of Julianna’s family. I think often of the grandparents 💜

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing: the joy, the pain and everything in between. When I see your name in an email, it’s the first one I open. We’ve all lost a loved one, but I cannot even imagine the pain of losing a child. I feel like I know Juliana, and I thank you for sharing her with me. I do feel your pain, and I grieve with you. ❤️ Love the pic of J in the wagon, with her big brother pulling it! Made me smile, made my day.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Michelle, I’ve been a long time reader of your blog. I’ve been thinking of Julianna and your family a lot this summer. I had to leave you a comment because earlier today I was listening to music and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” came on shuffle- not usually a song most listen to in August! The song immediately reminded me of Julianna, it made me smile and I kept the song playing in her memory. Sending love and prayers your way ❤ -Bridget

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  6. As I read this blog I had to stop reading because I could not see the words no longer because my eyes were full of tears!

    Thank you for writing and keeping Julianna in our hearts. I cannot imagine losing a child. It’s taboo, it shouldn’t happen, it’s not natural……..stupid cmt!

    When I’m sad or having a rough day, I think of this sweet little girl, pretty, smiling and dancing and her fabulous dresses, that makes me smile again . Julianna was truly a glorious, loving child. Special girl with a big heart! You will never be forgotten !❤️❤️

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  7. I have been following Julianna’s blog for awhile when she was still with you on earth.
    Everything you shared showed how special she was to you. I hear you when you say you have grieved for 5 years.
    Never stop sharing Julianna, your love, your missing her and all you need to share.
    Keeping looking for the light no matter how small and look for the day you will be re-united again. For now she lives in your heart, her memories are all around you and you miss your physically right there with you

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  8. Your post does not read like ” the magic of television”. I wish I knew the right words and the right order, those words should go in, to make you feel better but I lack the smarts. I can only offer compassion and prayer.

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  9. Julianna lives in you everyday!

    And because you shared her with all of us, she lives in us too!

    You are in our hearts and our prayers!

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  10. I don’t believe things just happen by chance, luck, nor coincidence. In reference to me stumbling across your blog almost 1 year ago. Since reading and following along with your blog my life has never been the same. What an incredible joyous journey of a lifetime getting to know and love Julianna. If you look at it logically or rationally you would think; how could it be possible for a 5-year-old child to teach me a (59-year-old) Wife, Mother and Grandmother so many valuable lessons on life, and what it means to “Truly Live”? But the truth is she has taught me, more like shown me through all the “Julianna things, quotes and intentions of her heart” a more EXCELLENT WAY to truly live your life. Julianna will never be forgotten!

    Quote by Ericka W. Godwin
    “Life is precious, love is all that really matters, and who we are in the end and how we’ve touched the lives of others is the legacy we leave behind”.

    Princess Julianna the legacy you leave behind is HUGE with all the lives you’ve touched!!

    With much “Superpower” love,
    Lorna Redd

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  11. Because of you I was able to know the ever-shining light that was Julianna. I miss her and I grieve with you, not at the depths that you feel but as one who came to love the Julianna I came to know from seeing her through your loving eyes. Early on, it became quite apparent to me from whom J learned the power of love. The joy and love that eminated from J became a tsunami, her superpower, which continues to spread. I am better for it and as long as I have a breath, J will not be forgotten. May God bless you and your family. You remain in my prayers.

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  12. I can only imagine how many will be doing so many different things on her birthday (one week from today) across this nation. Lots of folks still do not know J’s story but I continue, as I know many do, to point friends to it and without exception each comes away with a new depth with their own common thoughts like, hero, love, depth, gratitude to life, amazement of the wisdom of such a young spirit and soul…..everyone is touched, everyone cries, everyone smiles, and like me … for many the depth is permanent. I hope her story continues to spread like wild fire and people she her beautiful litter face, kind spirit, and most of all sense her tremendous fortitude. I don’t know what is after life but if there is more, she holds a big seat in the kingdom and certainly all the other souls that have passed since the beginning of mankind are surrounding her and smiling and absorbing her warmth, like a star of love shining stronger and stronger each and every moment of eternal time.

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  13. Love to you and your sweet family I love hearing all the emotions and wish I could give lives HUGS….but thank you for sharing all these thoughts.

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  14. Might be a heart felt smiling event to see what everyone is going to do on Julianna’s Birthday this week and where……I’ve made a big pile of wood out in the back yard by a field in Great Mills Maryland and plan to have a BIG shinning blaze for her, roast a hot dog or two, and have some of her pictures close by….on that day and for the next week will do some extra nice things with her in mind whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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