• Jess

Birthdays, holidays, "first day of...", celebrations, anniversaries...


Some days I am stuck between celebration and grief, and that's a tough place to find myself.


Thursday was one of those days. It was my little brother's birthday. Thursday was a good day but it was also another instance of bumping into the reality that she isn't here.


I did my day. I worked out, I got Boogs to school, I homeschooled, I got chores done, I bathed my children and finally.... I sat down and cried. It was a deep and aching cry a few weeks in the making. It was a cry I needed.


I got up and smelled the container where her jewelry is tucked. I hardly open this container in fear of letting the smell out. It still smells like her. Almost five years later and her smell remains. I can not express how grateful I am for that.


I found the necklace with her signature and in the process came across a gold bar necklace of hers. I remember seeing it previously but never paid much attention to it. Tonight, I flipped it over and found it said "REDEEMED" on the other side. My heart skipped as I read that word. Elijah's new middle name, Raanan, means REDEEMED. Does that catch your breath like it did mine?


The reality that she isn't here is difficult but I know that in everything, God is faithful and sovereign. He was and is. Her buying that necklace, her wearing that necklace, her death, our adoption, Elijah's name... proof of His love for me. His undeserved mercy towards me.

Jeremiah 31:3 3 I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

  • Jess

I see you. I see your eyes brighten as your precious children hand you over the handmade cards, flowers and crafts. I see you smile at the faces smiling back at you at the brunch in your honor. I see you look around for that one missing face. I see you holding it together for your family. I see you.


It's been four years. Four long Mother's Days without my mother. She passed away into the arms of her Savior on October 18, 2014. There was no long illness... there wasn't a diagnosis... there was no time to say goodbye... there was a drunk driver... and a pedestrian... and cardiac arrest. There was a phone call from an Officer and a drive to the hospital with the belief that she was okay (the officer did what was in my best interest; he did not tell me she was gone). There was the worst day of my life.


I see you. I see you as you put your children down for a nap. I see you deeply inhale their sweet smell. I see your eyes well up wishing she could smell them, too. I see you walk quietly from their room and into your own. I see you.


Today will be difficult. No matter if you're weeks or years in. The hurt that comes from being motherless is present every day you look into your children's eyes. For the first few years, I wanted to celebrate Mother's Day in a way that had nothing to do with her. I chose to stay as far away from those memories as I could and I honestly believe that was a natural way to deal with the grief. We "celebrated" by going places and doing things that wouldn't trigger. If that's where you are, sister, know you are not alone in hoping not to think about her today.


I see you. I see you sink onto your floor. I see your eyes fill with tears and your body give in to the big emotions. I see you finally allow it to consume you. I see you.


Over the years, the need to avoid those memories and thoughts about her has gone away. I have gotten to a place where the pain doesn't need to be avoided. Going to her favorite restaurant, being given sunflowers, listening to her favorite 90's country music, is a way to honor and feel close to her. I don't need to avoid those memories but instead can press into them. You can press into them. And when you do, and when its painful, lean on your friends and family that love you and want to hold you up. You aren't meant to do this life alone.


I see you. I see you pick yourself up off the floor. I see you wipe the tears from your eyes. I see you exhale and allow it to move through. I see you smile. I see you.


I have never been more thankful for a God that promises life after death. Because He took what was owed to me upon Himself, I will see her again. I pray over your heart today, sweet momma. I pray that the Lord would strengthen you and uphold you. God is not far from your pain. Remember that our Father in Heaven knows the hurt and sting of loss better than anyone.


Rest in His love today, sister.

If I can pray for you today, comment below. Even just your name. It would be my honor to cover you in prayer.

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  • Jess

Another round of people committing to twelve weeks of life-changing nutrition (not being dramatic, either!) and celebrating with a photoshoot!


I could not be more proud of our gym besties, the Rideouts! They committed and killed this meal plan. Way to go, friends!





Miss Mae Photography

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© 2018 by Jessica Salonga - loveunfolds.com

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