Today one year ago marks the beginning of the last week of Emma’s life. I have had many good memories this last week. For one, on my birthday Emma had eaten a whole ounce by mouth with no struggling. That was something she hadn’t done in a long time. She was learning, growing, and happy. One of my favorite memories of her (both because of what it told me about the development of her mind and because it was a happy moment) happened sometime during the week before this last week. I was feeding Emma again with a bottle (she’d had a break for awhile because of congestion and respiratory problems). Because she’d lost some of the coordination involved with eating (or just forgot it) I was having a hard time getting her to remember what the bottle was for. She loved the nipple, but only to bite, not to suck. So I set out to try to teach her that the nipple was not for biting. Every time she bit down on the nipple I told her “no” in as stern a voice as I could manage. After doing this a couple times, she bit down hard on the nipple, looked right at me with a mischevious twinkle in her eye, and she smiled. Needless to say my attempt at sternness dissolved into laughter as she and I enjoyed a moment of play. Shortly after this of course, Emma did show that she would cooperate as then she had that successfull attempt at eating the whole bottle.
Knowing these moments of happiness she was able to have then it is hard to remember the change that occurred in the last week of her life. It was not an easy week for her or for me. Some people have asked me if I ever had a premonition of what was to come, and the truth is I did not. Her death was as sudden to me as it was to anyone, including her doctors. There were very few times in Emma’s life that I even thought of the chance we had of losing her.
What is it like for me to be remembering right now, to be approaching the anniversary of her death, her heaven birthday? Well, it is not easy. But there is still joy in my memories. The truths that the Lord has revealed to us through our grieving are very real to me even now in the midst of the remembering. How do I think about it? I think about her a lot. Mostly I try to imagine what it would be like were she still here. I daydream of taking her to church, oxygen and all, and sharing her with all of you. I wonder what it would be like to hold her, how strong she would be, how much she would be able to do. In a nutshell, I am missing her presence here with us. I am also realizing that I often use the emotional aspects of how I feel about Emma and the spiritual aspects of what God has taught me through her as some sort of personal religion. I feel that I have been living some in the past when it comes to my walk with Christ and am encouraged to try to concentrate on what God wants to do in my life right now. Perhaps this one year anniversary will be a good point to mark a change in my walk with Christ or at least my focus. Though I never want to forget what God has done through Emma’s life, I also don’t want to miss what else he has for me. I need to find balance in this.