Updated: Dec 25, 2022
It’s been a couple months since I have been able to sit down to reflect and share in words where we are on our grief journey. I may have said this before but the holidays come so soon after the anniversary of Mazie going to Heaven. The “normal” traditions are tough to continue because anywhere we go or anything we do will ever be what it should without Mazie with us. One of those things is family pictures. I battle with choosing to continue to take them, being torn wanting ALL of our children to have the current season documented. But each of us recognize and feel the void of us not being complete.
So much of me is sad and grieves Mazie not being with us heavily. The holidays intensify the grief. Again, it's a painful reminder that she should be here. The wonder of what she would look like or what she would ask Santa for makes me ache. I'd give anything to hold her, make more memories with her, to be playing alongside her and her siblings, wear our matching pajamas, be potty training her, and even the toddler tantrums or breakdowns.
Myles, Mazie and Latson - Christmas 2019
This time of year especially feels like one gut punch after another and it takes everything I have not to stay in a dark place. My natural tendency is to isolate, which is normally not the healthiest for me overall. Here’s a little of what that looks like for me. While my emotions and thoughts center on my grief, some beautiful things happen in that place of solitude.
This place of isolation keeps me from getting out much. It's partly because of potential triggers like little girls around Mazie's age or not having the ability/energy to fake a smile.
In this place, it's where I am literally brought to my knees. I don't get on social media much and truly spend every possible second soaking up the present with my family, which of course we NEVER get back. Not as many people, less than a handful, reach out to acknowledge Mazie or our grief. We're just years and if I'm completely honest, IT HURTS. This adds to the depression because it feels like we've, more importantly she, has been forgotten or that those close to us have moved on.
A recent walk with baby sister Gabby and a beautiful sunset - Mazie moment.
The disappointment leads me to the ONE who is always there. The beautiful, sacred time spent in solitude is when I pray and surrender every thought and emotion to God. It's when I listen to the Word and He speaks back to me. Since January 1st, I have been following the plan to read through the Bible in a year. I usually do this on a walk, now with Gabby, and what I was doing many days right before Mazie went to Heaven. Here is one of many scriptures I highlighted from Lamentations 3:
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
And in John 11:35 Jesus wept.
Such a short yet powerful verse, showing us Jesus felt just like we do. Pure raw, human emotion. He did not weep because Lazarus was dead. He knew that in a moment He could restore life to him—and those who know the Bible know this is exactly what He did! Jesus wept when He saw Lazarus’s sisters crying. He was sorrowful for his friends’ suffering.
Tears touch the heart of our God. Mary’s heart was broken. Her brother was dead, and it seemed Jesus had arrived too late. She held no hope. She was hurting. She was weeping with deep sobs and wails. She was pouring out her soul to the Lord. When Jesus saw her, He wept with her. This great God is touched by our own hurts and broken hearts. Jesus models for us that sorrow is something that needs to be felt. Grief is a part of life. Even though He knew that, in mere moments, Lazarus would be raised to life by Him, Jesus still cried over the loss of His friend.
You grieve deeply because you LOVE deeply. Jesus helps me realize this will ALWAYS be something to dedicate a space for, not dismiss or distract from it, but HONOR the grief. This, I know, honors Mazie at the same time. I will forever be her mom. I will forever miss her. And I will forever desperately search for a place for my love for her to go. These days with Gabby, that looks different. I have to be more intentional to carve out space to be Mazie's mama too. My favorite is to write her letters.
As a family, we have a couple of traditions to remember our sweet girl that has become really special too. Last year, knowing we would be spending a certain amount on gifts for Mazie, we wanted to bless other children with her honor. We learned of families of need and their "wish lists". This year we did the same and after sharing this on our Mazie's Mission page, more of our precious friends contributed to have a larger impact and bless even more families! We could not be more grateful for those that have from their hearts!
We also keep our thankful memory jar out for us and any family that is with us who wants to add to it. Healing House (a local organization dedicated to support grieving children) inspired this idea. We can write down or draw a favorite memory that we shared with Mazie. It's a way she is "with us" (ALWAYS) on these significant days. This year we went to the RescYOU Group’s first annual Christmas event, which was so incredibly special to honor the angels for all the families they support. Last weekend, “golf cart santa” came through our neighborhood and it was our first time to see him. Hoping to make sure this season bring joy and magic to our sweet babies, I brought Myles and Gabby (Latson was at a birthday party). This night was dedicated to loved ones spending Christmas in Heaven. They knew about Mazie and we made sure to bring a picture of her. It’s another way to include her in everything we do.
Despite the sorrows of our hearts of missing our beloved Mazie girl, we have never felt closer to Jesus or her. We are focusing on His birth by intentionally reading the Bible together, watching Chosen (our favorite series that brings the story of His journey to life), going to church often and spending quality time as a family. We say no to some things to say yes and make room for HIM. Just this morning, Myles broke down (just as he did a couple weeks ago) missing Mazie. We talked about Jesus and how we celebrate Him giving us HOPE of being with her again.
What a joyful and comforting thought to picture Mazie celebrating Christmas with Jesus.
Merry Christmas Mazie Leah. We love you and miss you so very much. One day closer to holding you again baby girl.