Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grief and gifts

I think perhaps my mind has been on hiatus for the last few weeks as one could imagine.  But what have the last few weeks looked like?  Does one in this position sit and cry all the time?  Do they go into withdrawal after sitting and cuddling for hours and days on end?  Do they experience despair?  One thing I know for sure is that my experience may not be the same as any other's in grief and that in grief, there is no norm.  I remind myself of this even now as I deal with feelings of wanting to "do grief right," and, "will it look the same as last time?"  I have been high and low, and really high and really low, and many places in between.  Tonight as I sit here, my spirit is full to overflowing even as my heart aches.  How can that be?  I do not feel sad right now (at least, not in this minute!); I feel privileged, blessed, overwhelmed by God's goodness at filling our cup.  But the sadness is in the offing.  It springs up unexpectedly in the most surprising moments, even more than in the expected moments.  It is cathartic though, and I value the opportunity to indulge in my feelings when the timing is right (this is where experience guides or complicates my grief).  I don't fear the sadness, or wish it away, but I don't want to sit in it all day.  There is too much to be thankful for, to laugh at, to love and to enjoy - these things move the pain to a back burner to simmer, hopefully until an opportune time when I can sit in my own space and give in to the depth of emotion.  I find I want these moments to myself.  To share with Piper.  And God.  As many in grief might say, it's in these moments I feel closest to Piper.  I'm able to run through memories of her, to imagine her here, to try to feel her again, to talk to her.  I also feel closest to God in these times.  Piper has gifted me with this opportunity.  I know a time will come where the sadness will change, and that is probably a good thing; for now though, I will walk through a season of mourning, glad for an opportunity to cry, and that is the way it should be when I am missing a part of me.

Some gifts Piper has given us:

Intentional relationship:
I am so thankful for the times we stopped the world and took time to enjoy connectedness.  Time to stop and really enjoy each other and the unique way each contributes to our family.

I miss Piper for Peyton deeply.  I want to write a post all about them, and about how he is doing, but this is my sore spot.  The spot that will take the most fortitude to explore, let alone visit.  For now though, I smile thinking of the camaraderie and connection they have shared.  Drew taught us to create and value opportunities for sibling interactions and what a blessing that was this time around.  There is very little that resembles the relationship siblings share.  I hope Peyton will remember and know how much his little sister loved him!  Their interactions were ones that often caused me to stop everything and just sit and enjoy, or to sneak up and observe from a distance so as not to change the dynamic!  These pictures just seem to shout to me of complete joy in, and of, relationship.

I am so in love with my husband because of the way he loves my children.  It is hard to determine who is enjoying these moments pictured more!  I have learned (and am still learning) to look at the ways my children gain from their relationship with Jordan and have marvelled at the way he loves them.

These are the moments I miss the most; the ones where Piper is close to my heart, within my protective embrace, within the immediate circle of my love.  I have been so blessed by the love of this little girl!

(hiking at Lake Louise last summer)
Heart-filling "child moments" from today:
1)  I was picking out a couple books for a friend's baby shower today and felt so many feelings, but felt anticipation of joy for this family that they would soon be changed by the love of a baby.  
2)  I am afraid I left the bookstore with way too many books because I was thinking with my emotions instead of my pocketbook!  I was also nearly brought to tears multiple times: once, when mother of a little girl with big blue eyes stood showing her daughter books to determine which ones tickled her fancy the most, just as I had done with Piper months ago in exactly the same spot, marvelling at her proficiency in showing her preferences.  And a second time when I spotted a book that had been one of Piper's favourites that I hadn't seen in months.  I could vividly see her little fingers working their way over the book, experiencing everything there was to experience on each page.  I stood there ready to cry, trying to keep my composure so as not to cause discomfort to those standing nearby, overwhelmed with love for my little girl, and thankful to have known her.  To have been able to read with her.  To have had my heart painted by the colours of her love and the touch of her fingers.
3)  Peyton caused me to smile this afternoon by including me in one of his rare verbal rambles.  I had been out for the morning and last night at a Beth Moore conference (AMAZING), and it was as if he had bottled up all the occasional sentences we might have swapped in that time and then released the cork after I came home.  He talked in circles!  We usually stop at half of one circle!  What fun.  He is such a blessing to me right now; thank goodness for the way children enjoy life!  It is contagious.

A lesson I learned this week:  
Look at the world through Peyton's eyes.  Instead of giving an answer that comes off the top of my head while I continue with my path, stop and give an answer from my heart.  One that investigates his world and values his perspective.  I hope I remember this one as I get caught up in the daily responsibilities of life.

A reflection on Piper:
If I was so awed and overwhelmed by the presence of God during the chance to praise God in song this weekend, the thought of what Piper is experiencing can only bring me joy.  I reflected on how so many of those I observed seemed to feel a compulsion to move from somewhere deep inside as they sang, and on how it suggests they are only a change in restraint away from breaking out in dancing.  One of the gifts of my day was the one lady who did dance, who broke free of our mental restraints for just a moment and gave way to the need to break out in a physical expression of love through movement.  Just for a moment, she twirled and swayed, only to return again to restraint, but her spirit had already shown its desires.  The clincher was that she was wearing pink.


  1. I always love reading your words Kari.

  2. Kari, once again you spur me on with your words. You guys are such an inspiration to us, in so.... many.... ways. Thank-you for continuing to share your journey with us. Your beautiful spirit is so evident to me, and I treasure you. Sending much love, and continuing to pray.

  3. Thank you for continuing to share Piper with us, as well as your own heart. Your revelations and observations are such a blessing to me in my parenting journey. Your family continues to be mentioned, valued and prayed for in ours almost daily.

  4. Dear Kari,
    it's so encouraging to read your thoughts, and to be in the audience of your example. I pray gentleness for your family, and reminders of how greatly you all are loved and cared for.
    There is a sharing of your heartache(not to a comparable degree, but with an appreciation of how immense the depth is) and I also pray that you continue to feel upheld, supported and surrounded. I love your honesty, and the time you still devote to your Piper. May those times refresh and restore the soul we've all come to admire so much. Thank you for inviting us to walk a bit of your road with you.
    I'll be faithful in prayer for you friend.
    love, Brandi