Many of you who know me well, know that I struggle with depression and specifically seasonal depression. Which means the depression gets bad in these Minnesota winters. The cold, the lack of sunshine, the isolation. All of it gets to me.
So it wasn’t really surprising that earlier this week, on Sunday and Monday, I was having a hard time. My depression was deep and the darkness felt really heavy. It was one of those days where you just sit and silent tears keep falling. I didn’t know why; it was just there. Sometimes depression is like that – it sneaks up on you, it’s like a paperweight holding your soul down and you have no words to describe the reasoning; it is just is.
Then as quickly as it came, it vanished again. I went about my days, survived my days is a more accurate term. My hubby had worked 100 hours in 9 days and I had been completely on my own with my 2 little boys. The whole family – we were just completely exhausted. Being a police wife is a ministry of its own…something I probably wouldn’t have signed up for had I known the difficulty of it. The isolation and the loneliness. But I digress.
Back to Sunday and Monday. Could it be that Sundays are always hard for me since we lost our church, our community? Could it be that my hubby had worked so much? I just didn’t know. It was just a shadow that came over me.
Fast forward to today, Its Thursday, I finally had space away from my littles and it hit me. It is awful to even say this out loud, but it was the anniversary of the due date of the baby girl we lost. Emerson Grace. February 9th, 2015 was when she should have arrived. And I hadn’t even remembered. But my body felt the grief. It took me several days to cognitively remember and I am so sad about this. It feels so dishonoring to her.
Then I remembered something I on Nora McInerny say on a TED talk (listen here: https://www.ted.com/talks/nora_mcinerny_we_don_t_move_on_from_grief_we_move_forward_with_it?language=en). She said, “we never move on from our grief, we just move forward with it.” How the grief shapes us. The person that we lost is present tense always, because they are so much a part of us. And even though I never got to meet Emerson, she is as real to me as my other babies. Unfortunately, not everyone in that world acknowledges that, but it doesn’t matter because it’s my story and that is my truth and she was and is my baby. And even if my mind, my exhausted mind, didn’t remember, my body remembered that grief. I am choosing to believe that that is the way I honored her this year, that I remembered her even if my mind was a million other places taking care of my boys. That I remembered her and I will always remember her.
The reason I wanted to share this with you is that I wanted to tell you that God remembers and sees us. Just yesterday, a friend of mine who is an artist, is writing a song about grief, and she asked about grief and what we would have wanted to hear. That was actually the moment that helped me remember that this was the week of Emerson. It felt like a divine moment. God’s way of nudging me to take the time to pause and reflect as I wrote back sharing our story.
I talked with my therapist today about grief and after I needed to get groceries. Walking out of Aldi, I look up and I see the woman who spoke so much life and truth into me during that season. We are not friends outside of that moment in time. We went to the same church, but it was a big church and easy to be anonymous. But she had experienced several pregnancy losses and had walked in that darkness. She just took time to hear my story and to share hers and to just give me sacred space. Looking up and seeing her, it just, speechless. She didn’t remember my name and I didn’t remember her name, but I will always remember her face and the impact she had on my life during that really dark time. It was just as if God was saying, “You maybe didn’t know your pain this week, but I know your pain, I hold your pain. Every tear. Every struggle. I see you. I know you. And I have you.”
As I got back into my car, I just started weeping because I needed that reminder today. We have a God that sees us and holds us and knows us. And even if I haven’t found a church and even if I haven’t found a new community, God is still God and He is still here. He is holding my pieces, all of my broken, messy pieces.
As I sat there crying, it just made me think that maybe somebody else needed to hear this as much as I needed to. So mama, if you are in the middle of a season of grief or loss. Or if in a season of exhaustion and littles, and no sleep and the days are long and hard. Just know God sees you and He knows you and He is here for you. Just look for him in the ordinary. Look for him in your neighbors, in your children. Look for him in the people at the grocery store or the sunshine we finally found in Minnesota. He is speaking to us in so many ways. We just have to look and listen.
And finally, I just want you to know that I see you. Let me say that again, I see you. I am here for you. Maybe I can be what *Lynn was to me. We had never really met in person, it was all via email, but she had such an impact because she gave me sacred space to be sad and to own that grief and to process truthfully.
So, mamas, if you need that, please DM or email me because I want to be your Lynn for you. I want to ensure each one of you has sacred space to own your truth, to own your pain, and to process your struggle.
*Her name has been changed to respect her privacy.