Two days ago was May 29, the day my daughter died.
Three years ago I spent the day rotating between the couch and the bed, watching episodes of Glee (there was an entire season available on Hulu and it provided just a smidge of distraction), fading in and out of sleep, waking over and over to a reality that seemed a nightmare instead.
We haven't watched a single episode of Glee since.
May 29 has become a day to remember the life of our girl and spend time as a family. We make a trek to the Lincoln Children's Zoo every year, a place we intended to take Ryann on May 29, 2011 and a place we visited with close friends and family after her burial.
This year, Jared and I also made time for the two of us. After we put Clifton to bed, we bundled up the littlest dude (who kindly stayed asleep the entire outing) and went out for a leisurely, late dinner at Blue Orchid, the restaurant we took a small group to after our zoo outing three years ago.
This year brought a new freshness to our grief, as a friend had just lost her youngest son a couple days before. And in light of these losses, I would like to share a list of things that helped Jared and me in the aftermath of losing Ryann and things that might help your own family and friends if you're at a loss.
- being inundated with Facebook messages, especially with no expectation of a response. Just a virtual hug to let us know how many people had been touched by her in her short life and how many people were grieving with us.
- sharing memories. Memories are the most cherished and most fleeting things, such a frustrating thing to know that we don't remember everything. Any little memory that can be shared is the most wonderful thing, even just a memory of seeing her walk down the street.
- anything that might help to check out from the present for a few moments - movie tickets, gift certificates to restaurants, invitations to visit friends out of town.
- helping to pay expenses. The expenses after something like this is astronomical, even with good insurance. And then the real indignity is having to pay for a funeral on top of it all. Friends helping to cover these things is such a meaningful, needed, and tangible way to support.
- creating a memory book, memory Facebook page, etc. where everyone is free to contribute and all the memories are consolidated in one place.
- checking in down the road. Even just a quick note of 'how are you doing these days?' in the weeks, months, and years to come. That means a lot.
- flowers. I had never really understood how meaningful sending flowers to a funeral could be. We were so buoyed by the flowers that were sent to the funeral by different families, groups, and churches. So amazing.
Also, a good rule of thumb is this. We have had our fair share of hurtful and inappropriate comments, and although we know that they are well meaning, they stung (or sometimes sucker punched) just the same.
Do not add to the hurt. Be a support.
|My darling girl and me, just shy of three months.|
Photos of the two of us aren't that common, since I was often the one behind the camera.