I want to begin my first post by stating that this blog is not always going to be about Chloe, or more correctly, about my grief over losing Chloe. Philip and I have come to a few conclusions about how we should carry on the rest of our lives and one solid determination we have is to continue to pursue joy and fulfillment. Life is not perfect or completely happy but it is good.That said, I am sure I will post often about Chloe. We will always carry the grief for the loss of our beautiful daughter every second of every day. But was are learning to make room for complexities of emotions. As we have called it before: "the paradox of faith", being at peace with the intense pain in our hearts along side the joys. And surley this is how Christ lived. He most certainly felt the weight of the cross even when feasting with publicans and sinners and being accused of being a glutton. So when you see us at a party laughing, watching a sports event, drinking coffee don't be afraid to ask us about Chloe or share in our grief. We think of her every minute and we love to talk about her. But also, don't be afraid to ask us to do something fun:) We love to have fun......
Now some "how we are doing" stuff. I am constantly amazed that anyone still cares and it helps me so much to process my grief "out loud". The funny thing about grief is that it is completly unpredictable so I find it difficult to tell anyone at a given time how I am doing. I knew before Chloe died that the "grieving process" (a stupid term invented in an attempt to rationalize something that is not rational) would not be linear. I knew that here would be "good days" and "bad days" and that sometimes I would experience the pain as sharply as the night I cradled her dead body in my arms. But I didn't know that there would be no way to predict grief's behaviour. There is really no way to tame it to the point that it will eat out of your hand. So when something that gave me comfort a week ago like looking at family pictures causes unbearable pain today, I have to be ok with that and accept that attempting to prepare myself ahead of time for the pain is kind of futile. That is not to say that it is pointless to wrestle with grief and "contain" it. I think that is healthy. But I laugh at how cocky I get sometimes when I think for a second that I could ever "get over it". I don't think grief is a process at all. As if you can "go through" it then get over it. I think it is a companion that you have to live with forever. It changes the way we all change. But it is always there. Right now I am trying to relate to it as my teacher instead of my slave master.
I also believe that I have to find the right way to relate to Chloe. I think CS Lewis alluded to this as well, but I find that my grief can be very narcissistic. I sit and daydream about the way Chloe "should have been" had she lived. But, as a Christian, I believe that she continues to exist. She IS something right now and thinking of her in hypotheticals as she would have been had she continued her earthly life is similar wishing Eva had red hair instead of her blonde hair or wishing she were not so emotional (Eva cries about EVERYTHING). I think it somehow dishonors Chloe not to discipline myself to focus on what she is now. And herein lies the great great difficulty. The fact is I don't know exactly what she is. I understand peoples' desire to comfort me by telling me that she is playing with puppies or she is running around the way she was never able to do here. But the fact is I have no way of knowing that and, really, since she is temporarily separated from her physical body she most likely is not running around. I have to face that truth. I have to face the truth that I do not know exactly what state my child is in. But, percieving through faith, I can cling to the belief that she is at rest.
I just completed a book on death and the state of our loved ones after death and the church fathers are pretty tough on us in terms of any speculation and needing to know. Scripture is largley silent. If Scripture is silent we should be careful not to "seek a sign". The first paragraph of the book kind of hit me between the eyes as it admonished me not to demand of God what He has not determined I need to know. Yet there is much that I do know about my child's existence that gives me great peace. I know she is free from suffering. I know she is enjoying the presence of Christ. I know she is awaiting the Resurrection and healing of her physical body. I know she is interceding for me. I know she joins me and the whole Church in fellowship as we join with Christ during Holy Communion. As a mother who is striving to love her children not for who I want them to be but for who they are, I have to live in this present reality. As my dear friend Bryonie said to me "there isn't what was, there isn't what should have been. There only is what is."