The Face of Grief

This was me five years ago.
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A lot has changed since then.

Four years ago I got married…
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and got a new-step-daughter.
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Three years ago, my daughter left.

By left, I mean that she left without a word. And except for one short email to tell me that she was nowhere near the massive flooding that was happening where we thought she was living, I haven’t heard from her since.

No explanation. No goodbye. Just gone.

It’s mind-boggling, really. Was I a perfect mother? Of course not. The only perfect person who ever walked the earth was Jesus Christ. But I am sure that I did nothing to warrant this loss, and that I did the best I could for her.

I gave her opportunities to develop her talents…

Oil painting

Oil painting

Flute in Concert Band

Flute in Concert Band

Saxophone

Saxophone

and interests.

War of 1812 Re-enactments at Stoney Creek

War of 1812 Re-enactments at Stoney Creek

Photography (Self-Portrait)

Photography (Self-Portrait)

Curling

Curling

Lord of the Rings Online: Aerieth the Elf (her) and Edrod the Dwarf (me)

Lord of the Rings Online: Aerieth the Elf (her) and Edrod the Dwarf (me)

I traveled with her all over Canada and the eastern United States…

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories

Ontario

Ontario

Nunavut

Nunavut

went on a tour of Newfoundland…

Gander Bay

Gander Bay

Bonavista

Bonavista

Twillingate

Twillingate

and, with my parents, gave her a cruise as her high school graduation present.
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I encouraged her to have friends from all over, to care about her family, to savor special occasions….

My nephew's christening

My nephew’s christening

My parents' 40th anniversary

My parents’ 40th anniversary

Extended family

Extended family

Step-sisters

Step-sisters

Church camp with her best friend

Church camp with her best friend

Our wedding

Our wedding

My brother's wedding

My brother’s wedding

Boating with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and us

Boating with aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and us

And yet, she’s gone.

But that is not all I lost on the day she left.

I lost my godmother, who is one of my aunts, as well as her husband, her two sons, their spouses, and three children. Some of them not only knew what she was planning, but along with her biological father, encouraged it, and helped her to do it in secret. Some of them say they didn’t know. I don’t know who to believe. And even if relations are ever restored, how does one learn to trust again in people who had a hand in such as this?

I lost the close rapport I had with some of my own extended family. Some because they didn’t and still don’t know what to say; others because they pretend she never existed; still others who blame me for her leaving.

I lost a whole slew of people that were supposed to be friends, but had no kind words to say after she left.

But I have also gained some things as well.

I finally realized one of the reasons why the little girl I was so close to when I lived in Pond Inlet died – so helpful to us in life, she has also helped me in death by giving me a taste of that sense of loss long before I felt the loss of my daughter. Though she is not dead, her absence in our lives is felt every day.

I finally am able to pray as I should, something that was denied to me for many years as a result of my first marriage. After it ended, I would become physically ill whenever I prayed, and had resorted to cursory and perfunctory prayers much of the time. Now I can pray again – every day is a constant prayer that she is safe, making good choices, happy.

I finally have realized – or at least have some small inkling – of just what it means when the scriptures say that Heavenly Father lost a third of His children. Why should I exempt myself from what He has experienced?

I finally know that healing of all kinds comes through the Atonement of Christ. “The Savior’s atonement in the garden and on the cross is intimate as well as infinite. Infinite in that it spans the eternities. Intimate in that the Savior felt each person’s pains, sufferings, and sicknesses. Consequently, he knows how to carry our sorrows and relieve our burdens that we might be healed from within, made whole persons, and receive everlasting joy in his kingdom.”

I hope one day she will return to us. If she does, she will be welcomed with open arms, a prodigal daughter to a mother who misses her.

This was me five years ago.

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And this is me today.

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6 responses to “The Face of Grief

  1. Grief is one of the most difficult lessons in life…right after betrayal. We ‘lose’ people in many ways. Sometimes just the person that they once were, and, sometimes I think this kind of grief is almost the worst to endure. When a person physically dies we know that, they were sick, or they had an accident, or some other thing went wrong.We grieve the loss, we say goodbye, we know we won’t see them again. When a person goes missing, or who they were, goes missing from our lives it is the grief that finds no closure. You wonder why, you wonder where they are, if they are okay or if they are in need. You endlessly replay every moment hoping to find the clue that would tell you what made it all go wrong, because knowing that means that maybe you can fix it. I have a family member who changed…the person they were once is lost, and what was once a close bond is now superficial with walls that stand between the words. I miss the person they were. Sometimes I see small shadows of who they were and find hope, and then a word or an action crushes that hope. For you, that loss was the domino that fell and dragged down with it a number of other losses. It is a tough thing to live with, make peace with, and find ways to still smile. My New Year’s wish for you is that this year you find that peace; that if you can’t learn why this all happened, that you can at least place it in a place in your heart where you can start to feel some peace. It’s not easy to do…I know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you thought of hiring a detective to find her, just so you know where she is?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We know what city she is in. We just have to be content with that, I guess. She knows where we are. We just pray that one day she will decide to contact us. Until then, I write her emails, which probably doesn’t read, but at least I am writing them. We pray for her. And we don’t judge her for the decisions she has made. We still love her and miss her very much. It will be four years in just a couple of weeks.

      Like

  3. Thanks for sharing this story. I only have known part of it. She is gathering a story of her own and I believe that sometime in the future both of them will be part of a single inspiring whole.

    Like

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