In a little under two years, I have lost both daughter and mother. Tomorrow marks two years since Jolene ended her life.
How is this different than the first anniversary?
Two major things slam home. One is: In my thoughts, Jolene is now a part of my past, not my present. How wonderful that she continues to live in God's eternal now, in the presence of the great I am. But I no longer picture her walking back onto my stage and reentering my life.
The second is: Mom's death echoes Jolene's, increasing the grief. A friend said "Grief is one thing that doesn't get easier with practice." No, instead I think it increases exponentially. In today's prayer journal, I asked God to replace my sandwich covering (Mom above and Jolene below) with Christian friends who would stand by either side. And He is.
A year ago I wrote that I wanted to wallow in grief over the anniversary. This year, I feel a deep sadness, and yes, depression, but overwhelming grief? No.
God also reminded me to put the past behind me and press forward. Both in terms of the people I have lost, but also the place. Instead of comparing everything in Oklahoma City (often unfavorably) to Denver, to instead plant my heart as well as my feet in Oklahoma City.
Being here does make the grieving easier. In Denver, every event, place, meal, reminded me of things I had done with Mom and Jolene. It's easier to forge new memories here in Oklahoma without that baggage. Instead of Mom and Jolene, I picture the group from church that oftens goes out for dinner at Sunday church; or the many wonderful memories with my son's family.
Mom and Jolene enjoy God's eternal now. Some day I will join them.
Until then, I will seek to live life to the full.