I ask Julia about school every day and she is now used to rattling off a string of things that she does, some specific like the kind of math game that she played or the book that she read and some most like lunch, playing outside, or coming home to me. I love when she tells me that at the end of the day she gets on the bus and comes home to me. Yesterday, she told me that she went to social studies class. Social studies?!!! Well, I bet she has been going to that class, whether it is outside of her regular classroom or not, since the beginning of the year, but finally, yesterday, she could tell me that it was different than doing math or reading.
Another incredible leap!
I do wish that David could see this progress. Julia has made so many giant leaps this school year, and I know that we have been working towards these things since she came home, but now I am seeing them. I do hope that there is consciousness after death if only so that David can see how far is little girl has come.
Last week, Marilyn was filling out insurance forms and she asked Julia why she came to see her. Marilyn is our attachment therapist. Julia told her because "I love you." She added that she was "working on our family" (my explanation of what we do at Marilyn's) and "learning to be nice." This is the beginning of an awareness, a seeing herself from the outside -- reflection, for heaven's sake!
Last night, as I left from the grief group meeting, the air was decidedly spring -- damp, earthy smelling, fertile, and I remembered vividly walking the dog one March night last year, smelling that smell, thinking that David had gone into the hospital in winter and would come out in spring even though it was only a few weeks that has passed. We had talked about grief triggers at the meeting and there I had my example perfectly set before me. I could feel my own hope from last year, the promise of spring and a new heart. It was a punch in the gut but at the same time brought a smile to my face. I do remember hope. Physically, at least.
Last night's meeting was very small and so those of us there talked much more than usual. I found myself talking about my niece, Jennifer, who killed herself when she was 19. I realized how her death and my grieving her death is still so much a part of me. How long has it been? Almost 10 years? But there is still residual anger, frustration, and great sadness for a child who had not had the loved that she needed to survive. And great guilt for not insisting on giving that love to her. I do not mind the guilt -- it is my reminder that I can do something. That every child deserves an adult who is fully committed to them, who will love them no matter what, and who is their rock of stability in the world.
I had not connected grieving for David with grieving for Jennifer. (I did connect it with the old losses of Jon and Jim -- 20 years ago and I still talk to the both of them.) But the connection is there and easy to access.
A year ago today, David came home with his new heart. It felt so very good to have him home and all three of us under one roof. He talked to Cheshire when he got home, and seemed so happy sitting on the couch and having dinner.