Has it truly been 11 months since Jolene's death? In some ways, it feels like yesterday. In others, it feels like years.
As much as I miss Jolene, will always miss her, her absence makes the decisions I face easier. I don't have to worry about her emotional wellbeing and mental stability if I move to Oklahoma. I'm not concerned about her falling apart as Mom's health worsens and she needs more of my attention. She's not jealous of my desire to spend time with my grandchild. The traumatic events of the past few months would have been extremely difficult for her to deal with.
Yet ... the pain is there, in short, brilliant bursts. On Jaran's mantlepiece stands a picture of him at 4 or 5, standing next to Jolene's crib. Both of them are laughing. Jaran had once told me he felt it was his job to make Jolene laugh, and that picture is one of my favorites. Oh, Jolene.
Or walking into a Mexican restaurant with Jaran's family. The smells and tastes revive memories of Friday nights at 3 Margaritas. Jolene loved Mexican food, but Mom's stomach can't tolerate it. Instant association, good memories.
Worst came when I shopped for a Valentine's Day card for Mom. My eyes drifted a few inches away and spotted "To My Daughter." Grief washed over me, and I almost walked out without buying the card for Mom. I stayed, but kept my eyes resolutely fixed on the cards for mothers. I didn't expect this holiday to bother me, but that single line did me in.
One month to go until we reach the one year anniversary. Part of preparing for the move will involve going through the boxes of Jolene's things, the ones we were unwilling to part with at first. Pray for strength.