I just got to spend a week with my family back "home." Where I grew up. Where Caroline is buried.
I went to visit Caroline while I was there. I mean, I know she isn't really "there," underneath her headstone, but I can't seem to say it any other way.
I had some mixed emotions while I was there. The last time I stood on that plot of land was the day of the funeral. Cameron and I live approximately 1500 miles from where I grew up, so it's not easy to get back there frequently. It took me 7 months, in fact. Haha. So I had never even seen her headstone in person. My family has been great about sending pictures so we knew what was going on, but I'd never seen it in person. I don't really know why that's so important, but it was nice to feel like things were taken care of and that I had the opportunity to check on it. I guess it's what a mom should do or something.
I'm sorry if this whole thing sounds slightly morbid or if it makes you uncomfortable. That's not my intention. But this was another milestone for me in my journey with Caroline. Going back to visit her.
My mom was with me when I went, and I'm kinda glad she was. It made things seem a little less somber or something. I've been doing so well with "moving on" in life that I was almost surprised to find myself fighting tears. I shouldn't have been surprised. I should have expected to feel that way, I guess, but I didn't. It kinda snuck up on me.
It reminded me that Caroline will always be a part of my life, and there will always be some remnant of the hurt of losing her. I know that, intellectually, but it's sometimes hard to grasp emotionally. I think anyone who has lost a loved one in some way just wants the whole thing to go away. They want the person back, or they just want life to go back to normal, or they just don't want to have to think about it and deal with it because the loss is permanent and leaves an indelible mark on our lives. We want to have emotional plastic surgery to remove the scar the loss caused.
At the same time, we would never wish that the person never existed for us to lose. We wouldn't trade our time with that loved one for anything even though it had to hurt to lose them. It's a strange mix of emotions.
To me, it's a reminder that this isn't home. That I'm not supposed to be comfortable here. That I can look forward to a place where I won't ever feel loss or pain anymore. And my precious Caroline is already there enjoying it. What a blessing.
I'm still incredibly grateful that God's grace has seen me through this loss so well. I'm so glad that God has given me joy amidst the sorrow. And I'm not talking about the new baby on the way, even though that is a source of joy. No, what I'm talking about is that even before we started trying for the new baby, God gave me joy. The joy came from Him, from His comfort, from His truth, from His grace to me. He walked with me through all of it, from diagnosis till now. He gave me joy with the pain. He gave me hope. He is so gracious to me.
I hope you have His joy. It's better than anything.