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Moments of raw emotion

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Wide White: Moments of raw emotion

Monday, March 21, 2011

Moments of raw emotion

I'm not generally a very emotional person. A tear wells up every once in a while - maybe weekly? - at something simple like a sad story, but that's typically about it.

I haven't been very emotional about Kaylee Hope's death lately. It's made me wonder if I didn't love her enough, if she didn't mean enough to me, if our loss really wasn't that big of a deal. I actually questioned on a few occasions whether we should be doing a memorial service.

A friend says these are "little lies" that are a part of grief. Thankfully I had a few moments Saturday in which I was reminded that those thoughts really are just lies. Here are 3 of those moments:
  1. Shortly before Kaylee Hope's memorial service I was setting up a laptop in the back to run a video I had made for her. I was alone and took a moment to scan the sanctuary. I saw a few people taking photos of the table in the front that had some photos of her, a family photo of all 5 of us, a blanket of hers and some other things. I slowly started to lose it. It hit me in that moment: these people are here for my daughter. THIS IS SO WRONG!! This isn't how this is "supposed" to work. You're supposed to see pictures of someone with gray hair in the front, not a little hand the size of my fingernail forming the sign for "I love you." The eulogy is supposed to be given by a high school friend; the family member speaking on behalf of the family of the deceased should be a child. The father of the deceased should be deceased. I think that was the first time that the significance of the service really sunk in.
  2. I spoke at the service. I simply read letters Jamie and I had written to her over the last few months, some from before we learned of her diagnosis and some after. I was nervous about it ahead of time. I thought the letters might get boring or that that I'd be void of emotion as I read them. Whether or not the letters were boring, I certainly wasn't unemotional. I was reminded very quickly of how much that little girl means to me.
  3. When we got home at around 1:00 AM that night we found a package that was sent to us anonymously. It was a framed piece that had a purple flower, our daughter's name, and the meaning of her name and its origin. It was so simple, yet so meaningful to me. Oddly, I think the inclusion of the simple word "slender" is what hit me the most. I just stared at it as I sat in my car by the mailbox, considering the thoughtfulness of the gift and wishing so badly I knew who to thank for it.
Those were a few of my moments that day. They aren't all of them. There's no way to capture them all. And a post on raw emotions from my wife would look very different, as would a post from any other father who's not able to hold his child.

People ask a lot these days how I'm doing. Most days, things seem normal. I don't feel an ever-present sense of grief.

But there are moments with tears. The most seemingly random, everyday things make me think of my baby girl. And there are other reminders that life is not really quite "back to normal" yet. I've been getting tired in the middle of the day, regardless of how much sleep I had the night before or how well the day seems to be going. I wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. And of course, we still have supporters bringing us meals, praying for us, and helping us in other ways. It's not that things are automatically back to normal when these people stop coming or when I'm sleeping through the night again, but these things serve as reminders that "normalcy" has not yet returned.

The only thing predictable about emotions in grief is that they will come. What's not predictable is when, how often, or for how long.

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Blogger Kara Jo declared,

I love your 'Daddy's heart' for your daughter. What you shared at Kaylee Hope's service was beautiful. Keep sharing. And you're right about the lies. However you walk the grief journey is okay. It's also okay to just be 'all cried out'...certainly isn't a measure of how much you love Kaylee Hope. We all know you loved and still love her beyond what words could ever express.

3/21/2011 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Brent and Lisa declared,

Hi Joey, your reader Kara Jo is right, your grieving process is your process. There's no right or wrong way about it. Lisa and I are continuing to pray that you're receiving what God has for you each day.
The service was beautiful. We shared Kaylee Hope's purple feet imprint from the service bulletin with our friends.

3/21/2011 10:15 PM  

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