We leave her graveside and every time I am struggling to breathe and think straight. I just keep muttering to myself, “Our child died. Our firstborn died. Our Grace died!” It remains incomprehensible. As I walk away, holding on to Eric, the pain in my heart is almost unbearable. And I shouldn’t say ‘heart’ because that is just one tiny space within your chest. That place just left of the middle of your chest. I should say, “The pain that starts in the back of my throat as I choke back hot tears, collides with a rolling acid wave of stabbing pain pulling upward from the bottom of my lungs. The two forces meet somewhere in the middle of the entirety of my chest which causes me to lose my breath”. I have to actually remind myself to breath. At that point with every beat of my heart, my deafened ears ring. All I am really aware of is the pulse of my heart ringing in my stinging and burning ears mixed with intense and consuming pain.
Still, with the shake of my head I know that is an inept description. There is no way to really convey the depth, intensity and hollowness of the unbelievable pain and sadness that fills my being, numbs my brain and disarms my senses at the realization that “Grace is gone”.
As we drive off, with my world coming back into focus, I realize I was not prepared for this kind of pain and loss. I suppose there is no way one could prepare for it. But, still, I know I am being “unreasonable”. My head says the pain I feel is “unreasonable.” I remember holding Grace in my arms hours before she passed telling her, “Baby, if God gives you what you deserve He will give you Heaven. Don’t stay here for me or dad! Choose Heaven. Receive your reward! You have fought so hard and so well, you deserve Heaven.” My head knows Heaven is the best place for her. A place where there is no pain or tears. Grace was about to leave for college and start her own life apart from me and her dad. Our time together was coming to a drastic change. Children leave home to make their own path and go their own way. Change was coming either way. "You know Heaven is the best place for her"…..This is what my head says.
But my heart, well, my heart is another story. My heart cannot understand, accept or fathom such reasoning. My heart hurts at the loss of Grace. It implodes and bursts with searing pain at the memory of her face, the sound of her laugh, the sight of her picture or the remembrance of plans made for her future.
At the moment, I find I cannot bridge the chasm between my reasonable head that understands Grace is in a better place and my unreasonable heart that feels only her bitter absence. My head reasons that with the passing of time, (Come on Laura it’s been five months!) my heart shouldn’t hurt so badly, (Come on Laura it’s only been five months!). My head cannot comprehend my heart. My heart doesn’t listen to my head. But it hopes. My heart still hopes for the strength to bear the loss of our Grace well. My heart hopes not in the lessening of the pain of losing Grace but rather in endurance until the chasm between my head and heart is bridged.
My heart remains in hope until my head and my heart are one again.