To Harlynn, With Love

Harlynn love

A week ago would have been Harlynn’s fifth birthday. For months, the weight of the number five loomed above my head, and I felt burdened with an awkward responsibility of having been a bereaved parent for that amount of time.

Five years ago, our lives were forever changed. Five years ago, we said goodbye before we ever had the opportunity to say hello. Five. Years.

In the days leading up to April 9th (the day we found out she died) and April 10th  (the day I delivered her), I was essentially worthless. I couldn’t think clearly, I couldn’t get motivated to do anything productive, I could hardly move without something hurting, and I cried nearly incessantly.

Anticipatory grief is a real thing, and it’s often far harder for me to deal with than the actual anniversary days of her death and delivery. Such was the case this year.

I considered turning off my phone the night of the 8th and leaving it off until the 11th. I wasn’t sure I could handle any emails or text messages or God forbid, someone actually calling me. I didn’t turn my phone off, though. Those two days, it lit up with messages of others thinking about us, and I was moved to tears each time I read their words of care, or each time I saw a purple heart adorn my screen.

I was alone all day with the kids, and found myself fighting back tears more than a couple of times, but truth be told, they were so well-behaved both days, and I am so thankful.

Their behavior was only one of the many ways God comforted me when I needed it most.

Hubs had commitments all day, and it wasn’t until after I put the kids to bed I was finally able to let loose and experience the annual cleansing cry. Deep, heavy sobs wrenched my shoulders as I sat on the sofa and covered my face.

It’s hard to explain – it isn’t sadness alone that brings the tears. There are elements of gratitude, longing, hope, and respect that intermingle with the grief I still feel all these years later. It’s a complicated feeling, but one I appreciate being able to have after all this time.

It was in those tearful moments I had an incredible realization that made me cry all that much harder.

All this time, when someone we know and love passes away, I have imagined them finding Harlynn and relaying to her how much her family loves her. As if they’re messengers on our behalf, affirming for her how loved she is by us, and how all the love she felt and knew while I was pregnant with her was genuine and authentic.

But it was this year I realized something quite different. For all the messages I received and the people who still, after five years, remember the significance of those days for us, that’s most likely not what happens.

I realize, now, when those we know and love pass away, when they find Harlynn, they tell her how much THEY love her. How they’ve finally met her after all this time of loving us through her absence, and how crazy THEY are about HER.

That realization wrecked me. In the most pure and positive way, it wrecked me.

We – Hubs, Little Miss, Little Man, and I – are not the only people in the world who love Harlynn. And one by one as our time on earth is up, her circle will fill until the day it’s complete.

I can’t express how much this means to me, or the significance of it all – to know how very loved Harlynn is. Whether love for her is an overflow of love for us or visa versa, it’s incredible to me.

I felt like I understood so tangibly Ephesians 3:14-19, and truly began to see just how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

So thank you. Thank you for loving us, even and especially when we grieve messy.

And thank you for loving our little girl. It’s so special to know there are tributes to Harlynn, with love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.