Our pastor said something yesterday about Lot’s wife who turned into a salt pillar. It was a passing comment but it stuck with me.
I find myself time and time again trying to re-create the past with Jenna and to forget, just for a moment, that she is gone. I long to feel that same joy in having my little girl on this side of heaven just one more time. I smile at toddlers in the grocery store, trying to pretend I am sharing a smile with Jenna, I hold her best friend’s hands, hoping they’d feel like hers. When a little girl at church graces me with a hug I try to imagine it is Jenna’s.
No smile is quite like my muffins’ though, no hand feels like hers, and no other hug can feel as trusting and familiar as Jenna’s was. Try as I might, I can never return to that blissful pre-17th-of-February state where my enjoyment of Jenna was as simple and natural as my next breath.
If I had known she would be leaving us so soon I would have positively drunk her in, I would have taken lots of videos and pictures, I would have written down all her comments about the pictures she drew, I would have taken note of all her cute expressions. But I had not, and so I find myself sometimes frantically rifling through the pages of my memory to grab a hold of them before my brain too, lets me down.
A friend recently said there’s a difference between treasuring memories and holding on to the past. I think the difference for me is going to be found in how much I let Jesus into my grief picture. I can sink into my own world and wrap a coccoon around me, preferring to alternately lull myself into numbness with all the many distractions around me, or sit alone with my feeble attempts to try to bring Jenna back, if just for a fleeting moment in my head. Or I can move forward.
Part of me loathes the expression ‘to move forward.’ It seems to imply that I am leaving Jenna behind and that every step I move forward, widens the gap. I could absolutely not bear to do that. It is slowly dawning on me though, that there is no danger there. How could there be? My muffin is always going to be with me. She is in my heart.
I can invite Jesus into my grief and move forward with him, going where he leads, and I can carry Jenna with me at the same time. I do not need to choose.
So…I want to make Jenna’s memory as vibrant and as precious as she was. I remember that at her memorial, I asked the people to always feel free to talk to me about Jenna. I told them that they wouldn’t scratch open some wound or anything like that. I hurt anyway, whether people mention Jenna to me or not. It is beyond precious to me when people talk about her, and tell me how they saw her, or when they add their memories to my own.
A friend then suggested that I circulate a journal amongst the people who knew Jenna, so that they could write down some of their favorite memories of her. Several people at our church have already had a turn, and when the journal is done there, I want to pass it on to my homeschool friends and family. (and those of you who felt they knew Jenna in cyber-land are free to email (or mail) me comments too, I could print it for her journal). It is already a great source of joy and a blessing to me to read and to know that many loved Jenna and were touched by her life.
Back on topic though… Please pray for me. I don’t want to become a salt pillar. 🙂 I don’t want to become bogged down and stagnate. I want to hear Jesus’s voice as he says: “Arise, let us be going”, and I want to follow him to the end of the world if he asks me to.