So many thoughts go through my mind about this experience of grief. It has been three years since Darah’s death on December 29, 2012.
We just finished celebrating our third Christmas without her physical presence. Yesterday we had our third Memorial Mass and Brunch in her honor. Many people acknowledge that this is a difficult time of year for us. Indeed it is. So many memories of all of our lives are so intricately woven in to the holidays. We pack them with memories and traditions while we are living them.
When our loved ones die, we feel their absence most acutely during these times. And for us, and many like us, when the death anniversary is so close to the holiday itself, there is such a mix of emotions.
George and I will never forget the horror of that morning, just a few days after Christmas, when Darah was too weak to walk and when the Paramedics arrived. We will never forget the gloom of the day. We will never forget the icy, wet cold of the air. We will not forget the dread of another hospital stay – the shock that this ultimately was the final hospital visit.
Maureen will never forget receiving that unspeakable phone call from us. She, already in Chicago, where we were all planning to be, to celebrate Colin and Elizabeth’s wedding.
Yet, as the time passes and I become more accustomed to this reality, I am grateful for so much. The biggest blessing, as I have written before, is the depth of love that I would never have known, without this loss. The love and deep understanding among this small family of ours continues to flourish and grow.
I am grateful for Darah. I am grateful for her life, her laughter, her intelligence, her sense of humor; her honesty. I am grateful for her fierce strength and determination. I am so incredibly grateful for her life and that I get to be her mom.
I am grateful for my family.
The love and appreciation for each other and the roles that we played during Darah’s illness continues. I was the nurse; George was the comic and always positive one; Maureen, our in-house naturopath, researching and seeking remedies and cures – and holding me up emotionally all the time. Jeremiah was the loving brother and son we had never had before.
I am grateful to be able to lend support to newly bereaved parents. Unfortunately, more parents have lost children in the past three years. I hope that my experience of this heart wrenching grief, and my ability to survive and grow, gives other moms hope that someday their pain will not be so acute.
I am grateful for the new skills and experiences I am allowing myself to have. This year I have started to practice Yoga and Transcendental Meditation – which I believe are helping me tremendously to live in the now and manage the grief emotions which are with me always.
I am grateful for the little ones who are in our lives because of Darah’s generous heart and friendship with Tara. We got to spend time again with them this Christmas and are making plans for basketball and swim lessons at the YMCA– starting next week.
I am so grateful for our friends and family who still acknowledge our loss and continue to say Darah’s name – usually with a big smile remembering her shenanigans and sense of humor. These people continue to support The Darah Farris Scholarship Fund.
I am grateful to the contributors to this Blog. I learned from Maddie Rogers, the concept of Memento Mori. Never had I heard of that before – never would it have had such a deep meaning as it has now.
I am grateful for my job. It is such a wonderful place to work. My work is varied and challenging and stressful, at times. But my job helps me stay focused on the here and now. My co-workers are such wonderful people and many of the concepts we explore in our meeting rooms help all of us in even this area of life and loss.
As time goes by, I am more and more astonished at the truth of the theme of George’s letter to Darah all those years ago when she was at her high school retreat. I am wizened by the truth of the letter from which he read from at her funeral; the title of a love song; the title of this blog.
The best IS yet to come.
Written By: Debbie Farris