I've long known the importance of taking things one day, one moment at a time--though it seems I was much better at it when Paige was here. She kept me on my toes with all her crazy reactions and issues, but at the same time she grounded me. When it gets really tough, I remind myself how truly blessed I was to have had that incredible young lady with me for 16 years. God had a purpose for her time here, and He has a purpose for mine--so I've got to keep going. I fully trust Him to guide each and every one of my steps. Make no mistake, though--this unimaginable journey has changed our family forever. It hasn't gotten easier, and I'm not sure it ever really will. It isn't anything we can just 'get over' or 'leave behind.' From what I can tell so far, Paige's absence is something we will learn to live with as we go on living. I miss my daughter, and I will miss her every single day until I see her again. It's unbelievably difficult to find my footing these days--but I'm working on it. We all are.
The grief process is unpredictable, to say the least. There will be a few mostly-good days, and then--WHAM. It hits me. Or Boyce. Or Jeremy. On any given day, at least one of us is really, really missing Paige, and the others do what we can to lift the spirits of or simply just support the one hurting. It's a rough road to travel. Some days we can walk it pretty steadily. Other days it feels like one stumbling block after another. Today has been a pretty good day, so I thought I'd share what the Lejeunes are up to as of late.
Jeremy. Where do I start? This young man is pretty incredible, to say the least. Despite dealing with the devastating loss of his sister (whom he adored, by the way), Jeremy not only kept his grades up--he ended the school year qualifying for National Junior Honor Society. The outpouring of love and support from teachers, friends, and his whole school in general helped him stay connected and focused on even the toughest of days.
The rocky road of grief hits Jeremy the hardest when he returns home after he's been with friends a few days. It's like a jolt back to our hard new reality as he once again adjusts to the fact he's now the only kiddo under our roof. Several times he has quietly spent a day or two in very close proximity to me, and that's okay. Whatever I can do to get him back on the road moving forward, I'll do. We have stressed to Jeremy we want him to have a happy life. That moving ahead doesn't mean we love his sister any less. It just means we are working to continue on the path God has laid out for us.
Boyce. This man is my rock here on Earth. He has said before how strong he thinks I am, but I don't think he realizes how incredibly strong he is. Talking me out of sudden, overwhelming panic attacks. Giving me a shoulder to cry (actually, sob) on. Being the main breadwinner and encouraging me in my part-time role at church. Continuing to work with Jeremy on his bowling skills. Teaching our son what a man does to take care of his family. These are but a few of the ways I've seen my husband demonstrate the strength God is giving him as we travel this road.
Amy. Then there's me. Some days I think I'm getting used to the terrain of this road. Other days, I come very close to tumbling down a rocky incline. I ache for Paige. I long for my girl. Her absence is deafening sometimes. Yes, she's healed. Yes, she's received the gift of eternal life. I am thankful for that. I rejoice in it. I know I will be reunited with her when Jesus calls me home. For the time being, it would be oh-so-amazing to get through an entire day without feeling like I've been punched in the gut.
Song lyrics really, really get me. A song about God's will had me crouched down on the floor. Another one mentioned holding the hand of a loved one as she was headed home--whew. Tears, tears, and more tears. Words are powerful enough, but set some of them to music and I'm just done. Nights haven't gotten easier for me either. I have to keep the television on with low sound. The combination of light and noise makes it harder for my mind to keep going back to the night Paige left. Grief doesn't go away when the sun goes down. If anything, it becomes more present.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10