That Was Different

April 9th was a beast. That part was the same. It’s always harder than the 10th for me, and this year was no different.

My friend and former Harlynn’s Heart board member, Justin, summed it up exactly when he texted, “Weird roller coaster of emotions today for you, I’m sure. If I’m not mistaken, today was the day you found out Harlynn’s heart stopped beating. Pair that with the resurrection of Christ, and you hit the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

On the way to church that morning, I was making a painstaking effort to read every word and even spelling some slowly, of every billboard, license plate, or sign on the drive. If I didn’t, I would start crying. The distraction was necessary.

By the second or third song in church that morning, it was all over for me.

Shoulders heaving, gasping for breath between sobs, I was clutching my head in my arms on the seat in front of me. I felt Brent’s hand on my back. But mostly, I felt a gigantic tug-of-war.

Harlynn’s death. Christ’s resurrection. The two of them together in Heaven. Me… here, not knowing what to do with this.

Once the tears started, there was no stopping them. I cried through the service. Through the sermon. Through the conversation after church. On the drive home. While cooking our Easter meal. While brushing my teeth. Laying down to go to bed.

The 10th was far less abusive, but also far different from years past.

I had thought I would make cupcakes and we would sing and have a little after-dinner birthday acknowledgment for Harlynn.

As the day went on, however, I became angry, and any kind of celebration was the last thing I wanted.

I didn’t want to celebrate something that “should have been”. Certainly, I didn’t want to portray in a cheerful light the very thing that had tormented me all the day previous. I didn’t want cake and candles to commemorate the fact we weren’t having an actual birthday party. I didn’t want to serve special treats to acknowledge the fact we’ve spent an entire decade with a child in the cemetery.

Frankly, I was pissed.

And that was different for me.

But here it is the 12th, and I feel like I can breathe normally again. We’ve been laughing and carrying on as usual here at home. No tears have found their way to my eyes since the morning of the 11th. And I have another year to ready myself for the completely new and unexpected experience next April will bring.

It’s been ten years and I still don’t know what to say or how to act or what to feel about all of this. I just let it happen. Maybe it’s a sign of maturity on my part or a sign of the opposite. I don’t know.

And today, I don’t care. I’m only glad I was able to wade through the absolute filth and muck of grief one more time to make it to the other side.

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