The Simple Girl

I used to be a simple girl. I was effervescent, effortlessly happy and trusted with ease.

That girl is still in me, somewhere.

As a young girl, life and everything about it was black and white. In fact, I legitimately used to think that at one point the world was only black and white. Photos, movies and TV shows before a certain time proved this to be true to my believing eyes.

I love the simplicity of black and white. One or the other, stark contrast, easy to decipher…I could go on. The simple girl I was lived in black and white. I didn’t even consider the grey, it complicated things.

This worked until everything around me seemed to be breaking. Suddenly, I was living in the grey. My thoughts turned into complex run-on sentences to which there was no right answer.

“Logic and emotion exhausted me as they fought their relentless battles.”

I always imagined that by the time I was 30, I would be right on track and know exactly who I was. Instead, quite the opposite happened.

The year I turned 30 challenged everything I knew. It was grey, both literally and figuratively. I grew so much that year, it hurt. I aged so much, I may never again feel young. I loved so much, enough for a lifetime. I cried so many tears, a river could flood.

Our families broke, over and over for several reasons throughout that year. It isn’t my place to share the stories of those whose hearts broke around us. But I will share one…

I never thought it would come to this. I imagined a lifetime of possibilities, yet somehow I missed this one.

I forgot to role-play the moment when her daddy and I would make the decision to allow the intubation tube to be removed from her six-pound body.

Through extensive medical advisement and the deepest depths of prayer, we, her parents, are the ones who have made this decision. For a brief moment, I am terrified.

Because, what if she fights? What if she isn’t ready and we chose wrong?

I can’t bear to see our tiny daughter fight. If she does, I’ll want them to save her but I know they won’t…it will be too late.

The tube that is breathing life into our darling is slowly removed. Suddenly my own ability to breathe seems difficult as we wait. We watch.

What I receive next could only be described as a gift. I’m bathed in relief.

Relief? Yes, relief.  

There is no fight. She isn’t struggling to live. She is only resting. Resting in peace. Resting in Heaven now.  

Her fight is finished. Finally.

I breathe in a deep breath of life.

The space between watching my daughter die in our arms and the agonizing moment in which reality set in was a flash of fleeting relief.

It has taken me a long time to form those emotions into words. Nothing, absolutely nothing, about her life was what I imagined it would be when I heard those delightful words, “It’s a girl!”

I was forced to adjust my expectations, over and over again throughout her little life. Hope became difficult for me, a person who never questioned God’s plan before, when my world was simply black and white. I’m a careful, intentional person. Everything about the life and death of our girl took me far beyond my limits, into the grey.

In the early months following her death, I lost myself. I didn’t make plans. My creativity had gone missing. My faith grew stale. I became quiet. I became angry. In a way, I’m still on a path of self-discovery. Routine and stability are favorable in my life, however let’s just say the past few years have been full change and transition. Within the past year, we relocated, my husband started a new job, we had another baby, my own career is on hold, and our oldest son started school.

I remember concerning myself to a great extent about our son and his transition during it all. A new house, new school, new friends. New everything. That’s a lot to ask of a six-year-old. He dealt the best he could. Children are resilient, I’m learning.

I didn’t realize how difficult it would be for me. We left my comfort zone too. We left the city where my husband and I became adults. The place we built our passions. The place we became parents. I left friends who felt more like sisters, we left behind neighbors that were an extension of our family. We left the home our son loved with a pond full of fish for a back yard.

We left a life behind. And I was nervous.

I was nervous to start over. I was sad to leave.

And just as I write those words, a smallish epiphany floods my heart and pours out of my tear ducts…

There are so many times in my life I have felt that exact same way. Nervous to start over. Sad to leave.

Starting over with a new job. Starting my own business. Becoming pregnant after watching our baby die. Refreshing my faith. Moving to a new town. Making new friends as an adult.

Sad to leave our home. Sad to leave my job. Sad to leave my people. Sad to leave the hospital one last time. Sad to leave my career, if even for a season.

Nerves come because I have once known such great comfort.

And sadness is felt because of incredible joy I’ve been blessed with.

I understand now that it’s okay for me to be nervous and sad sometimes, they are a result of my comfort and joy. What I am learning is how not to become consumed by it. I always thought I would have a pretty good idea of who I am in my mid-thirties. I’m still figuring it out.

I’m 33 now. It is suggested that Jesus was around this age at the time of His death. I think of His life. He was perfect and in many ways, it sure didn’t look ‘picture perfect’. I wonder how many would choose His life? His life impacts people in different ways. For me, He is THE reminder that we can suffer well. I haven’t always done so. Sometimes I suffer in harsh ways. I exhaust myself with anger some days. Other days, I’m stone cold and even a tear won’t fall in its frozen state.

Thankfully, grace catches me when I fall.

I rise up and remember I’m not alone. Even in the loneliest moments, when I feel the most misunderstood, God has me.

We've all had times in our lives that are dark. Times when it is difficult or impossible to see and we feel blind, unaware of when to turn and where to look. Often, the light doesn't come as a spotlight with a switch. No. It can seem to slowly rise like the dawn. Life comes back into focus and details take on new meaning as they begin to glow. There is something beautiful about the transition time. When we rise out of the depths, we can see the stark contrast. Tribulation on this earth is a guarantee. How we respond to it is a choice.

Has there been a time in your life when unmet expectations were a difficult reality? What did you learn during that time that you are stronger for now?

If you could have a cup of coffee with your younger self, what words of wisdom would you share knowing what you know now?