I survived a year that should have broken me.
I am forever shaped by the tragedies of 2020. I am changed by the staggering amount of pain and anguish that I was forced to confront head-on.
I have been transformed by not having to face any of it alone. The force of love behind my family this year is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It is so, so beautiful.
I have been given such a gift of relationships. Relationships with unlikely friends who have stepped into the void to hold me up or let me crumble or let me just be ME. Relationships with family took that word and put it into action. Relationships with Abigael’s inner circle, who let me continue to know her. Relationships with a community that I feel so embraced by. My loves—my husband and my children—my vision of their intrinsic value will never be blurred again by the chaos of the mundane.
And now I am beginning a year that Abigael is not in this world. I will not make any memories with my daughter this year.
That realization sucks. It hurts. And it’s not happy or good or merry or bright.
But I know I will survive it. There is no easy way through this season of firsts. But I know I will not be forced to bear it alone.
I continue to learn and grow from being Abby’s mom. Now I know that life is hard and screwed up and terrifying and painful. But now I know I am loved so much that others are willing to try, in any way possible, to bear some of my burden for me. I know that love is the only force stronger than death. I will never stop loving and missing and lamenting Abigael’s physical presence.
But, I feel like she gave me this gift. This gift of a quilt of love that is continually wrapped tight around me, made of the fabric of those in my life that she led to me in my darkest hour. And when it starts to slip down, and I sit shivering, somehow that quilt gets settled around me again.
I will not squander this gift from her. It’s all I have left. The love. The light.
And maybe, that’s all we really have. We have no control over our circumstances. Really, all we have are the people, the relationships that we cling to. We all embark on strange, new, often frightening journeys. Maybe what is defining about those journeys are who we took them with.