About four months after Zoe died, we started attending the Dougy Center, a place for families and especially children dealing with the death of a loved one. More on that was explained in this post. It was so difficult at first but it was a relief to be around other grieving adults. Londyn enjoyed it at first, but after a few months she said she didn't want to go back anymore. I was concerned but with her sensitive little heart I didn't want to push it. After about six months, just out of the blue... she asked to go back again. We were put on a waiting list for a new opening in her age group and were able to go back to our first meeting on Thursday, February 13th. It was extra special because this time Andrew came too. Without hesitation, Londyn followed the kids and adult volunteers to the Little's group and Andrew and I went upstairs to the adult group. Parents sit and have an open discussion about their loss and coping with grief. In past group sessions I've attended, the other parents were grieving the loss of a spouse and only once was their another parent having lost a child. With that being said, I couldn't relate as well to the other adults as I hadn't, nor do I ever want to understand that kind of loss.
This time was much different than I've ever experienced before. A new couple was attending for the first time after losing their adoptive son to multiple congenital heart defects. My heart ached for them as I could see the raw pain that this mother was enduring. At one point someone asked how Londyn was doing. I explained that she has been struggling for a while as she is continuously worrying about her loved ones dying. I shared that some friends of ours recently lost their baby girl to a terminal illness and then our dear sweet pediatrician suddenly passed away in December with an aggressive cancer, which I shared in this post. Just then, a man sitting several seats away from us spoke up and said "I think that was my wife." I looked at him blankly for moment in shock. All I could think to say was "what?" He said "I think you are talking about my wife. She was a pediatrician. What was her name?" I drew a blank because I still couldn't believe that this could really be happening. I finally said, "Mindy Green." His eyes lit when he said "that's my wife." Tears welled up in my eyes as I sat there and told him how much we cherished his wife and how amazing she was with Londyn and I after losing Zoe. I told him that Mindy and I always talked about getting our girls together as they are the same age. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time to think that these girls were finally playing together downstairs in their group. It was truly an act of God that our paths crossed and I know Mindy was smiling at the sight of our girls playing together at the Dougy Center. After our group was over, he came up to me and said "I feel like I need to give you a hug." Before we left he invited us to lunch at a nearby burger joint. It was an amazing day.
We visited Zoe's grave yesterday. It had been a few weeks since we last visited. I love seeing all of the red hearts and flowers that my mom and dad decorated before they left on their mission. Londyn usually helps with the flowers and then runs off to explore the cemetery grounds. This used to bother me because I unrealistically expected our young child to sit and talk about Zoe during our visit. That's not what kids do. Now when I see Lulu running and talking to herself, I like to think that she is playing with her sister. This sweet thought always makes me smile.
Heavenly Father see's the bigger picture. There are days when I wish I could just take a peek. But how will I learn? How will I grow? In this life we are given opportunities to stretch ourselves and exercise our free agency to become the best version of ourselves. These opportunities come when least expected and test us, pulling our faith in every direction. Being Zoe's mother is the most painful blessing I will ever know. The 9 months that I carried her and 4 1/2 months that we had her here on this earth presented so many miracles and tender mercies that give me the strength to endure. I know that this sorrow is temporary and that one day the bigger picture will be revealed and all joy will be restored. Families are forever.
THIS is my bigger picture.