This past year I have changed a lot.
Physically I have changed. My eyes look a little older, not sure if wiser, but older. I have just gained my first set of permanent wrinkles right across my forehead. I looked in the mirror to see why I would have gotten wrinkles in that particular spot, and when I made a sad face or a face I have when I cry, those wrinkles appeared. They are wrinkles brought on from a year of so many tears—some of joy and most of sadness—cried all over you.
Emotionally I have changed. I have learned this year that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be, and I’ve also learned that I am capable of emotions deeper than I thought were possible. When you were born I learned to open my heart wider than I ever had, and after you died I learned to protect it more fiercely than I ever had. I have become a bit more cynical and jaded than I was a year ago. I no longer believe in “happily ever afters”…just that God gives us the grace to get through the hardest parts of life that we have been promised will happen on this Earth. I find that I have a deeper ability to offer support to women who are struggling with life problems. I also see that I am more prone to guard my own emotions in the presence of others, in the fear that I may lose control of them.
Mentally I have changed. I am no longer stimulated or interested in many of the types of conversations that I used to be. I have to try very hard to focus while in certain topics of conversation because in the scheme of what I’ve gone through this last year, they just don’t seem important. I have to remind myself that I used to have certain interests, talents, hobbies, and that it is ok and normal to enjoy them again. My medical knowledge has grown enormously and I have become familiar in the world of intubation, suction machines, seizure meds, and doctor’s visits.
Spiritually I have changed. I still feel that I am guarded in my prayers to God. I still feel that part of me was betrayed by Him when He didn’t save you. I have come to see, though, that God is working in the worst of times to turn things around for His glory and our best. I have learned to trust Him even when I don’t want to. I have seen that I run to Him and run from Him as the cycles of my grief change. My thankfulness for the Cross has intensified now that I know just how hard it is to lose your child.
When I stop to reflect on all these changes I realize that I am different. I am not the same.
Your daddy and I are going to go back to Chicago in a few months and I’m kind of afraid. I’m afraid that this new Sarah won’t be able to relate to her old life. I’m afraid that my friends and family will not be OK with this difference and that I will feel out of place. I’m afraid for that first moment when I see them again because now I’m seeing them as Sarah: the woman whose daughter died. Because, you see, the last time I saw them all I was pregnant with you. They were all praying for you and wishing that you would be born healthy and that you would live. I now have to face all them again, but without you. With only the changed me.
Pretty soon I’m about to enter “Sophia season.” It begins at the end of May, your due date, and ends on July 22nd, your death date. This was the season in my life that caused all these changes and differences in me. I know that each year these months will bring back overwhelming memories of happiness and despair, thankfulness and grief. I think that as the years pass I will continue to change, because of you.
I pray that I will be able to embrace the new me and be proud of my scars. I pray that God will continue to draw me to Himself and remind me of His goodness. I am such a work in progress, as we all are. I hope you are proud of me, my little girl.
I love you,