I am taking down Kate’s butterfly tree today.
It has consistently become the last piece of Christmas to adorn the house and then to be placed back in storage. It’s not usually an emotional time or event, but one that I choose to do in solitude as it definitely makes me reflect.
It’s interesting. A few months after Kate died, after the initial shock and trauma started to fade, I began to have two conflicting emotions. One was a desperate cry for everyone to remember Kate. I didn’t want anyone to forget her or her short life because that meant she might fade into nothingness…into oblivion…and then what was the point of it all? I could only wrap my head around her death if I was reassured that her life (and death) had meaning, purpose.
The other overwhelming emotion was a desperate cry not to be defined just as “that mom who lost her daughter.” I didn’t know exactly what I meant by that statement, but I knew it didn’t feel right to have that label. I knew it didn’t connect with who I was in whole – a normal wife, an ordinary mother of 3 other children (at the time), etc, etc…
So imagine the confusion…”please don’t forget my daughter who just died…and could you please quit looking at me with those sad eyes?! I have to go scrub the toilet and make dinner for my family!”
In other words, I was – am – trying to decipher what it looks like to wait.
There is a song that often comes to mind when I’m reflecting on my life in waiting. It’s called “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller.
I resonate deeply with those lyrics.
“It’s painful…but I am hopeful, peaceful.”
”It’s not easy, but faithfully I will wait.”
“I will move ahead, bold and confident. Taking every step in obedience.”
”I will serve you, while I’m waiting.”
That’s what it has to be about for me.
“I will not fade. I’ll be running the race, even while I wait.”
As I take down this reminder of Kate’s life and light, I carry her love and sweetness and feistiness in my heart. I am here to be so much more than that “mom who lost her daughter.” And I am assured by loving friends and family – and even those I barely know - that Kate is remembered and honored and never, ever forgotten.
So even though the tree and butterflies are put away, I know that Kate is celebrating our moments with us. And I clean the bathrooms and make tacos for dinner.
And I wait.