In 2012, my 7-year-old daughter, Emma, died. In 2014, my 11-year-old daughter, Alex, died from the same genetic disorder. That’s a lot, right? It is. It’s a lot.
In the last months and years of their lives, as I loved my daughters well, I wondered how I would ever get out of bed again when they were gone and why in the hell I would even want to.
So you might be surprised to hear that now, more than 6 and 8 years later, I am not only alive, but I am living. What’s more, I don’t think of my daughters every day.
I’m almost afraid of the reactions I might get for admitting this because there’s this strange societal expectation of grief that says we should never let the grief consume us, but that it should remain at an acceptable level as evidence that we haven’t forgotten. And that, my friends, is a crock of crap. Because of course their lives altered my very being. Of course I haven’t forgotten. I could never forget.
But here I am, with years under my belt, and I sometimes go days or even weeks without experiencing the overwhelming sadness of their absence.
Sometimes grief still kicks my butt. Certain moments, seasons, and memories really sock it to me and the weight of my grief can be extreme. But there are more and more days when I simply live and then the moments that bring me back to my girls are happy ones. Songs, shows, books, memories... and pictures like this one.
Grief changes. Bless it. But how much I love my girls, that will always be the same.
Follow Mandy McCarty Harris, Writer for more stories of standing happily in the awkward middle of life, love, and parenting.
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