Thursday, October 22, 2015

Five Years Gone

"Yes, I understand that every life must end, aw-huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw-huh,..
Oh I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they got none, huh-uh
Stay with me,..
Let's just breathe.
Practiced all my sins,
never gonna let me win, aw-huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, aw-huh,..
Yeah, I don't wanna hurt, there's so much in this world
to make me bleed.
Stay with me,..
You're all I see.
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't I'm a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.
I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw-huh,..
Everything you gave
And nothing you would save, aw huh,..
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave...
Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn't I'm a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
And I come clean, ah-ah...
Nothing you would take,..
Everything you gave.
Hold me till I die,..
Meet you on the other side."
It's been almost five years since this song played as we walked down the aisle of the church. Away from Ellie and into the after. It's been almost five years since I've been able to listen to this song. Five years.
In five years our lives have changed greatly. We have moved into a new house in a wonderful neighborhood. Ellie has another brother and a sister. We've watched Max become more comfortable in his own skin and learn to join us in our world more often than not. We've welcomed three adorable nephews. Our lives are different. We've gone forward.
But we have not moved on. Upstairs there is still a giraffe that sits on a shelf. Pictures remain on the mantel and side table. Jingle Bells hang from rearview mirrors. Our kids speak of Ellie daily. They know their sister and love her. We still celebrate her birthday.

When Ellie first died I often wondered how life would ever go on. How could days continue to pass without her in this world. I was often angry at those I saw on the street- innocently going on with their lives. Didn't they know? 

As time passed, it did become easier to put my feet on the floor in the morning and get up. Eventually smiles and laughter returned. We did start healing. Holidays and anniversaries passed with greater ease and fewer tears. Dave and I are lucky to have to many family members and friends that help us honor and remember Ellie on a daily basis. We have always been free to talk about her and celebrate her nine months and ten days. The early days of shock, anger and uncontrollable sobs eased and for the most part disappeared. 

But for some reason, five years came rushing down on me and has knocked me to my feet. I'm angry, out of sorts and a teary mess. Addy and Levi go to preschool at the church where we held Ellie's funeral. And up until this week, going there hasn't been a problem for me. But when we pulled in the parking lot this morning, I lost it. With shaking hands, I walked to kids inside and bit my tongue as hard as I could to keep the tears in until I made it to the car. Yes, the return of the car cry. You BLMs know what I mean. It has been so long that I've cried this much. It's shocking. 

Yes I miss Ellie terribly every day. I see the empty spot at dinner table and in the car. The fourth coat hook. They stare at me every single day. But I try to not make eye contact and just keep moving. I see the Time Hop pictures for those who have five year old girls and try not to think about what we are missing. When the neighbor is over to play after kindergarten I try not to think that "this is what our walks should look like." It is always there. For the rest of our lives, we will carry a hole. A hole of what should be a sassy kindergartener, a mouthy and disrespectful teenager, a college student, an excited bride, and tired new mother... These things are never going away.

I guess I just forgot that sometimes the reminder of what we are missing can come back in a not so gentle way. It's not always a sad smile, diverted eyes or the quiet welling up of tears in your eyes. Sometimes it's screaming, torrents of hot tears and anger. Sometimes it's memories of the unspeakable things our eyes have seen and ears have heard. It's brutal and relentless.

I worry that people assume after five years, we've moved on. That grief has subsided and lies quietly in the closet. All tucked away. I guess in some ways, even I had been convinced of this. But the last couple days have been nothing but proof that grief never goes away. We learn to ride the waves, but occassionally, against all our best efforts, a tsunami of tears and pain slams us back into the ground where we started. People say it's the price you pay for loving someone so deeply. And that's fine- I agree. But it doesn't take the hurt away. And it doesn't make it easier. 

After five long years, I still just want my baby back.



Beth said...

It is all so profoundly unfair. She is remembered always. Wishing you peace. <3

Laura Jane said...

Oh Tiffany. Missing your beautiful Ellie along with you.
The excited bride.. UGH. UGH. UGH. UGH.

I hate this version of our lives even though it's beautiful. I hate that it will always be a little bit worse.

Caroline said...

I've been thinking of you and your girl throughout the day. I watched the video you posted to FB and waited to find the right words, any words, to articulate how I felt after watching, but there just aren't any. I'm just sad for you. I'm sad for her. I'm sad for your family and I wish so badly things were different and she was here. Because man, she was just perfection, wasn't she?! I mean really - it just makes my heart break all over again for you and all you've endured and all I guess I can say is I'm sorry and I'm missing her with you.

Sending love.

B. Wilson @ Windy {City} Wilsons said...

The excited bride and tired new mother. That stuff hits me. It's not just who we knew and especially who you knew in Ellie getting 9 months and ten days with her, but all that she was meant to be.

I'm so sorry it's been five years. Things have moved forward, but not on. Ellie is still loved and celebrated and shall remain. Sending all the love for your beautiful daughter.

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