Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Loud Goodbye

My kids have a daily tradition.  When Matt leaves in the morning, they stand in the door and yell as loud (and I mean LOUD) as they can with their little lungs "BYE, DADDY, BYE... I LOVE YOU!!"  Today only Sam was downstairs when Matt left for work and so he did his part.  Des & Isaiah were upstairs playing and as Matt rounded the corner (we live on a corner lot) I heard them start yelling from the upstairs window "BYE, WE LOVE YOU!" 

Cute, right?  I've often wondered how "cute" my neighbors think it is so early in the morning.  Some days, if Isaiah is in an extra energetic mood, he chases behind him on foot until the end of the block!  Today, as I heard these guys from upstairs,  I got the biggest smile.  I can imagine how loved Matt feels, but it melts my heart to hear them do this....  and at the end of the day, it does the same to hear them welcome him back... "DADDY'S HOME, DADDY'S HOME!!" as they run to greet him.  They immediately start telling him the most exciting parts of their day and he soaks it up without delay.  This morning I realized that they use the loudness in which they say hello and goodbye as a way to show him how much they love him. 

Last night my mom had talked about how right from the day of Rachel's diagnosis I had been determined to celebrate her life.  Originally, I was accused by others of being in denial... but I was never in denial.  I was in love with my baby and determined to protect her and the way people viewed her for the rest of my life.  And I still am.  My very first email to everyone when I shared the sad news said "please don't treat her as if she's already gone, when she is not" and I refused to listen to even prayers that suggested such.  I had a shower for her, a birthday cake the day she was born (even though she had already died, we sang and ate cake together), and I blogged about her every move so that nobody could deny her life was real and important....if only to me.

After she died, I had planned on doing the same thing.  I know I still celebrate her life - I do that every day.  But as much as I believed I would never allow her death to overshadow her life, it's just not possible.  She is gone.  I wondered why, if what I wanted was for people to only talk about her life while she was still with me, does it bother me now when any time I try to talk about my sadness over her death, people want to bring out the positive and find the silver lining for me?  I feel like I should be glad that they want to focus on her life - after all that is what I wanted for so long.

This morning it all made sense as I listened to my kids yell goodbye.  I've never needed anyone to help me look on the positive side where Rachel is concerned.  I am completely confident that I did that.  I know without the shadow of a doubt that I NEVER have overlooked one single positive thing that has come from my little girl's life and as a matter of fact, I've devoted myself to making sure other's saw it too....for her honor and God's glory.  And I don't believe I need help finding the positive that has come from her death either.  I see it all - and better than anyone else ever could.  But right now, I'm in the middle of my loud goodbye.  And I need people to allow me the freedom to do that without trying to pull me away and shut the door on me, even if they are doing so because they think it will make it less painful for me.

If I tried to stop my kids in the middle of yelling bye to Matt, they would be rather upset.  I know they will see him again, I know that they can't stand there all day, I know that it doesn't change the fact that he has to leave - but they are showing their love and devotion to him and they want the world (neighborhood) to know about it - even at 7am.  And so maybe this is a trait they get from me - the need to say goodbye.  Or maybe it's just a human trait.  One that you only understand if you're saying a final goodbye to someone you love more than life itself. 

It's funny cause we have some family who say goodbye more than 10 times before they actually leave.  We all laugh about it, but it's kind of similar.  Say goodbye... talk a little more... say goodbye again... talk more at the door....say goodbye again....move to the car.... say good bye again and get in the car and as they pull away, everyone waves until they are out of sight.

But I'm not supposed to have the same desire with my little girl?  Am I not supposed to want to say goodbye over and over and profess my love just one more time...loudly, so the whole world can hear - and maybe even chase her down the street??  A child dying is not the natural order of life and goes against everything in a mother's heart. Believe me, if it was you, you would not be satisfied with "well, at least positive things came out of it" or "you will see them again" or "you can have another one"....  no matter how much truth resides in those statements, they still dismiss the reality of the pain of saying goodbye for those who are grieving.

I stood in Rachel's room yesterday looking at her little dress, her bloodstained hat, and smelling her clothes and I wanted to just show them to everyone who has tried to make sense of this for me.  I wish when someone was quick to judge where they think I should be or anyone who thinks they'd handle it differently, I could give them a glimpse of my reality... not my words, not my explanations, not even in my tears... but to just look at her stuff, to hold her hand molds, to see and smell her clothes - to imagine they belonged to their own baby...while listening to the story of the day she was born and died in my arms and then to think about the day they gave birth to their son or daughter and just try to empathize - and then see if they still would be able to throw out the well-intended reasons and silver linings that I'm supposed to welcome.  I've tried for months to use my words to achieve what probably 10 minutes in her bedroom would do without much effort.    It may seem pointless, but I just yearn for people to understand me and know of the place she holds in my heart and always will. 

So, that's where I find myself these days...  shouting goodbye as loud as I can from where I'm at and hoping that it can convey even a portion of my love for her.  I may chase her down the street time and again, knowing full well I'll have to turn around and go back home without her and that there is no chance of going with her.... but one day.... when I get to my real home, I just know she's going to run to me and immediately start telling me of the most exciting things that have happened to her while we were apart and I will soak it up without delay. I can't wait to hear.....


  1. Stacy, reading this was beautiful. Never feel you have to explain or defend yourself, sweetheart. I'm sure no one ever intends to do anything but bring you healing, peace, love and comfort. Sharing your journey so transparently will be helpful to those of us who sometimes don't know where they are at emotionally until someone else tells us, or until after it has passed. Or maybe I'm speaking of me? I can only see where you are at from where I am and you are teaching me and opening my eyes. You are helping my family, as well, by sharing the depth of your family's love for each other. Also, you're not alone having the family that saying goodbye is a process! Gotta love it. And, with that, I love you. - Laura

  2. Keep sharing your honesty. You're right, it doesn't surprise God at all. I know your honesty will strike a chord with many others. As you know, being in relationship with God doesn't mean its always pretty. In fact, it is down right in the trenches at times. But He is there with you, even in the trenches, knowing your prain and loving you through it all.

  3. Stacy,

    I think I stopped breathing when I read the part of your blog that says:

    "I've tried for months to use my words to achieve what probably 10 minutes in her bedroom would do without much effort."

    I think you're absolutely right! Hugs to you, my sweet!


  4. Beautifully put!

    Dr. Phil often talks about not letting the day someone died overshadow their life. You are doing that for Rachel and I love your open and honest heart to share it with us. I'm sorry you have to say good-bye at all but you yell it as loud as you want for as long as you need. Can't wait to meet precious Rachel, and her mommy, someday!


  5. Stacy, you always find the right words to make me better understand how you feel. Thank you for being honest and for sharing all your struggles!
    Much love, anja

  6. I wish more people would try to put on our shoes- to look at their children and imagine what if they had to say goodbye? It's unfathomable but yet it's our reality. Maybe reading your words will get someone to realize how much we lost.

  7. Your words leave tingles down my spine and this blog again touches my heart. You are amazing...

  8. Beautiful, just absolutely beautiful Stacey. I TOTALLY get that you want people to know her and treasure her, I feel the same way about our Sebastian. He is still with us right now, but he may not be for long. I want to celebrate his life while we have it, and as you said, I want to continue to celebreat that life after he is with Jesus. Your journey is beautiful. Thankyou for the blessing you and Rachel have become to me today. xx


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes