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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

it's still happening...

A momma and daughter duo that we lost touch with recently reentered our lives when they began attending the Tongginator's same Saturday morning Mandarin class. Her daughter and the Tongginator attended ballet class together as three-year-olds.

Which was the year that my neighbor Rosie was fighting cancer the first time around.

This momma who recently reentered our lives asked me on Saturday about Rosie. The question came out of the blue, while we sat on the school steps, grinning as we watched the horde of girls chasing one another around the playground after class. "Hey, how is that mom doing that lived next-door to you? The one who was so sick? How is she..." She trailed off as she saw my smile fade away.

"She didn't make it. It'll be two years in a couple of weeks."

Honestly, y'all, it took my breath away. I've been struggling with stress and sadness for a few weeks. It's come about because of a variety of things, but I'm thinking that this time of year will bring extra sadness for a long while... for myself, for my husband, for our neighbors. Losing two people within weeks of one another, well, it changes you.

Profoundly.

I didn't just lose my father-in-law two years ago. I lost the glue that held my husband's family together. Everyone adored my father-in-law. Without him, the strained relationships that bubbled under the surface - those that so many families cope with - rose to the forefront. I also lost a part of my husband when we lost his dad. Losing a parent forever alters you as a person, as a spouse, as a parent. I have yet to lose my mom or my dad, but I've walked beside my husband as he's grieved these past two years. I've closely witnessed that grief, even if I have yet to personally experience it.

And I didn't just lose my friend Rosie two years ago. In a way, I also lost my relationship with her twins and husband. Don't get me wrong; we still see them at neighborhood events and we try to have them over for dinner on rare occasion. We still adore them. But it's really difficult. Because every day is a marathon for Ring. They arrive home from work and after-school daycare around the same time that we put the Tongginator to bed. The children attend a different school from the Tongginator. Weekends are crazy, trying to coordinate schedules between two families with school-aged children who don't remember each other all that well, and would rather spend time with family and their new friends.

We used to share afternoon snacks of cookies and milk. And now...

On the upside, Ring is seriously dating someone. He's happy. The children are happy. And we are happy because they are happy. But that doesn't mean I didn't tear up on Saturday. Because it only takes one quick comment to bring back the memories.

And what could have been.

24 comments:

Annie said...

Oh TM, I am so sorry. You know I lost my Dad around this time last year and it does change you forever. Just know that I will be thinking of you and praying for you in this difficult time.

Kim K. said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Please know I'm thinking of you.

Keating Mom said...

So sorry, TM! I lost my dad the same year TD lost his dad, and you are right- it changes you... You are right- this time of year will always bring it back! Thinking of you and praying for you!

Aus said...

TM - We're so sorry for your loss - for us it's late spring / early summer....

But - remember that "what could have been" is what was.....and now it is what will be.....and we are in full control of that destiny. That's what free will is all about - controlling that destiny.

Go build your new relationships - and may the souls of our faithfully departed - in the Mercy of God - rest in peace....

hugs to all - aus and co.

Laurie said...

Thinking of you today...

Football and Fried Rice said...

Have you heard the song "Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney? If not, go download it now!! Yes, I listen to country music :)

At the end of the song he says, "But I know, I'll see them again someday"........it is such a powerful reminder that THIS isn't it. And one day, you will be having Milk & Cookies again with Rosie.

Lifting you up, sister!

Beach Mama said...

I completely understand. My father died 11 years ago this month. I can't believe it has been that long. ANyway, while driving down the road the other day it hit me that this was the month he died and I cried. Tears are flowing now just thinking about it. I'll be praying for y'all during this difficult time of year.

Andrea said...

I lost my dad last year on October 18th and my mom this past May 23rd - it still hurts. You do think of what could have been and how everything changes. Hugs to you!

Cedar said...

Losing people you love is hard, and I know what you mean about glue. My step-mother died last January (my mother 23 years ago) and it has been a struggle to keep the family together. Everyone just hurts so much. It is hard to find time to grieve in our busy go-go fix everything quickly society, but it is important and good.

Hugs and prayers!

Mahmee said...

I was surprised to see so many comments about losing fathers in response to your post because I lost my father last year on Oct 8th. His birthday was last week and it's been rough times here too.
I'm so sorry about your losses. I know how much harder it is when they come in multiples. And this might be where I would insert something inspiring and positive but, I know too well that doesn't make the hurt go away. Thinking of you all.
M.

Janet said...

Oh, TM! I'm so sorry. Sending you a big hug and thinking of you and praying for you in this valley of tears. ***HUG**

sara said...

I'm so sorry this is a hard time of year and for your losses. Sending good thoughts your way...

Norah said...

Thinking of you and how strong and wonderful you are....

sara (emma kate's mom) said...

Prayers for you as your heart misses your father-in-law and dear friend, Rosie. Sometimes I think the deep grief, as awful as it is, is a beautiful mark of how fully you loved those people. That doesn't make it easier, but somehow maybe a little bit more bearable. And those tears are precious to your Lord.

I'll be praying that you feel Him very close to you. Right there with you as you miss them.

Psalm 34:18 to your heart and spirit this day:
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

lmgnyc said...

Oh Tonggu Momma, I am so sorry for your losses. We lost my FIL a while back and he was the glue that held DH's family together. Isn't it sad how the loss of one special person can change things so much?

My thoughts are with you today.

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

...and I guess it will always happen. As hard as it is, it is also a reminder that she was THAT important a part of your life. I can see how the other friend who brought her up stopped you in your tracks. Thinking of you as you grieve your friend.

Sharie said...

Mahmee - I am sorry for your loss. October 8 is my dad's birthday...we lost him 4 years ago on November 8 and barely a day goes by that I don't think of him and something he is missing.

Football and Fried Rice - That Kenny Chesney song KILLS me every time I hear it. I SOB...Have to change the station if I'm on my way somewhere. Thankfully it's old enough they don't play it much anymore.

TM - You know my heart goes out to you. I can only imagine losing 2 people so close to you - so close together. My mom lost her dad and a brother-in-law while she was pregnant with me...the doctor put her on Valium - I'm often teased by my siblings that it's what's wrong with me...but the doctor said nothing could be worse for the pregnancy than that much stress on my mom.
I have seasonal depression, so to add dad's birthday and anniversary of his death in and well, you get it.

It's just never easy

Aunt LoLo said...

*hugs* We're coming up on our two year anniversary for Grandma Mary in a few days as well. So...bittersweet.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

It's funny that you mention this, because it's been on my mind too. I think I've mentioned this before, but my husband's best friend was murdered 4 1/2 years ago (when I was pregnant with Kady). Kev's dad died that same spring. . .AND his step-sister's husband was killed in Iraq. Because I was pregnant, I don't think I really dealt with all the death (plus, I was so focused on being there for Kyler and Kevin that my grief was the least of my worries. . .). After Kady was born, I had to slowly work though all of our loss. I think we're doing better, and then it hits you hard. I went to the beauty shop a week or two ago, and out of the blue, this topic came up. . .I feel for you. I don't even begin to understand the senselessness of a young death, but I do believe we see God work to make something good come out of something so terrible. Our family is much closer than we've ever been. And sometimes there's give and take with something so emotional: kyler is aware how fleeting life can be. . .of course, that means we have to work really hard to make him feel secure. Sometimes it feels like life beats you down, but I do mean what I said about God using something horrible to glorify Him.

(Sorry, that went on forever and was a little all-over-the-place. . .Know that you have friends on here that pray for your family. . .)

Heather said...

I am so sorry for your losses. Grief is an ever changing evolving beast in and of itself! It crops up , slips away, resurfaces...last week was the sixth anniversary of the death of our infant son and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Truly, I was not expecting my reaction. In other years I have not reacted quite so strongly, somehow this year was different....the dance of grief. Thank you for sharing from the very core, your post blessed my heart.

Heather

kitchu said...

i finished your amazing post, but i sat here. i sat here reading these words over and over for such a long while.

and then it came. those tears.

"Losing a parent forever alters you as a person, as a spouse, as a parent".

Laine said...

It IS hard. Hard stuff. A good friend told me recently, "death is a part of life"
I agree. We all experience it, and we will all die one day. When we're separated from loved ones, it only makes us long for Heaven more each day.
Praying you will be filled with joy in His presence during this season of trust and thankfulness!

discombobulated said...

i love you guys. thoughts with you.

Dita said...

How I wish I could just reach out and hug you, TM.

You put it all so eloquently into perspective. I know how much you loved Rosie and what was...and my heart breaks with you thinking of what could have been while learning to live in the "what is". I know you are happy that Ring and the girls are happy...happy in what is...also knowing that they too have their moments and will forever...of what could have been.

As for TD and the loss of his father...I can tell you that we are in the same boat here. I am so grateful to have both of my parents but when I see my DH struggle often when thoughts and longing of his own father surface...my heart breaks. I understand what you are saying about the "glue" and the dissolution of family ties in the wake of the passing of a loved one...it has also happened here.

I am hugging you.....can you feel me?

xoxoxo
Dita