Our new house sits on top of a hill. Some day’s I feel like I’m King of the Castle!
On a clear day, you can see hills miles from our home…..and on a really clear day :), you can see the roads that snake up these hills. Probably ones that farmers herd their cows along!
Last night, I was sitting on our deck, sipping a chilled glass of New Zealand Sav Blanc, watching gnarly storm clouds roll in when Dempsey wandered out, fresh from the shower, in her mismatched jammies.....one of her endearing habits that makes me smile…and nag sometimes that she can’t get the matching bit right. :) Anyway, getting back to the story...
Sometimes, Dempsey’s off the cuff comments cause me to reflect.
Standing out in the dirt, in her clean pj’s she stared out at the horizon and said; “Mummy, look at the sky. It’s a mix of day and night!”
“Yes, you’re right Precious!” I agreed.
The sky was contrasted in dark AND light….starting to merge into one.
And it reminded me of my journey through grief.
How after time, sometimes a long time, your sadness begins to merge with your happiness and you find you begin to get a handle on your emotions.
That those dark days happen less, as glimmers of light through life’s cherished moments and support from family and friends cause cracks to appear in the overwhelming dismal days.
And sometimes, you have breakthroughs, like the sun shining through the clouds, like I had on Saturday.
You see on Saturday, Dempsey was invited to a sleep over at her new friend Jenny’s house.
We were to meet the family at our local pool for a swim party first.
Dempsey spent what seemed like forever getting ready…she was excited. I hadn’t really had a conversation with this little girls mum before, so I was looking forward to a friendly chat at the pool.
As soon as we got there, Dempsey raced over to her friends who were lining up at the diving board.
I wandered over to the picnic bench and thanked Jenny’s mum for inviting Dempsey. And it’s a funny thing but I haven’t been confronted with having to tell ‘my story’ with a stranger for a while…well not since meeting Rose in the park in the USA.
And this is where my breakthrough came.
The conversation went like this;
“So Diana, what are you going to do while we have Dempsey sleep over? Do you have a free night or do you have your other daughter at home tonight?”
As soon as this mum said these words I knew she thought Dempsey’s sister was alive!
I was taken aback! I've never been asked this question...ever...as most people know about Savannah...that she will never be at home again! But oh how I wish.....
I felt odd.
I felt strong.
I didn’t’ feel like I was about to cry for once, or dread the reaction I knew I’d get. I actually smiled, s.m.i.l.e.d…wow, progress for me!
Usually I have to have had a few drinks not to cry or at least tear up or feel guilty about the effect telling someone about the death of my daughter has on them.
I smiled as I said, “Our other daughter Savannah isn’t alive, she passed away when she was four and a half…I’ll be by myself tonight!”
And I know now what to expect when you drop the bombshell….how it triggers an air of awkwardness.
The mum answered with; “Oh, I’m so sorry, Jenny told me Dempsey has an older sister!” as she stared at her feet……..
I was so proud of myself, I actually said, “Thank you! Dempsey does have an older sister, she’s just not here with us anymore.”
And there it was, the elephant in the room, or by the pool so to speak!
Another mother I hadn’t met, who was standing beside her, blurted one of the most stupid comments I’ve heard in years! With a rush of words she stated; “Everything happens for a reason I think!”
Happens for a reason???
What reason, I wanted to snark back.
But I didn’t!
I held my composure and actually felt sorry for her. It’s taken me a long time to get to this place!
So last night, thinking about my perceptive Demps and her comments about the sky merging made me realize my emotions from my grief journey have also merged, the line most days now isn’t definitive…it’s dark mixed brightly with light, sadness dimmed by my happiness, dark nights, illuminated by grateful days.
It’s a mix of holding on and letting go. It always will be.....
And I know some people aren’t where I’m at yet, it can take years…but you will be, I promise, one day…..
It hasn’t rained here for months.
But last night, Demps and I watched the skies grow darker, we listened to thunder rumbling in the distance…..and then heavens let loose.
I welcomed the refreshing rain, breathing it in…thinking about how far I’ve come….
After all, in this life, one thing I know for sure….it’s all about learning to dance in the rain! x