She repeats and nods her head, but I'm not sure how much she understands. How can she even comprehend that her daily companions have gone away? Tonight I held her a little longer and through my own tears tried to explain to her in terms I think she'll understand. "They took all their clothes ..." and with her little arms wrapped around me she said "clothes". "They took all their toys..." and I feel her jaw on my shoulder as she repeats "toys". "And they got in their car (car) and went to Missouri (Muri)"
It would be easy to ignore the subject all together except when she brings it up by asking for "Mah and Hal". But tonight her restlessness and tears left me to wonder if somewhere in her 19 mo old heart she is sad and feeling the loss in a way she can't communicate. So I do my best to communicate for her.
"When people I love move away I feel sad. And when I feel sad, I cry. I want all the people I love to be close to me. But sometimes they can't be. So we can send pictures and videos until we get to see them again."
Paranoid that I'll fail in regards to her emotional development I don't wait until she's in another room to cry. While I find myself grasping for the words to explain how I'm feeling, it seems important to at least try. Grief, loss, and disappointment weren't handled well in my family. I grew up with an understanding that tears were not an adult expression, anger was widely accepted, and grudges were meant to last for days. Instead of dealing with the real issue behind the anger and tears we were more often sent to our rooms. So with a certain ignorance to healthy emotional responses I felt completely unprepared for major loss and disappointment in my late teens and early twenties.
God has brought me much farther than I would have ever thought was possible. Tears are associated with sadness more than anger and forgiveness comes more freely than it used to. So now here I am with a daughter who needs to learn in her first 17 years what I've just learned in the last 17 of mine.
And that's where my current tears begin. Paige is SO extremely patient and loving; a much needed balance to my sometimes cold and tough love. She spent 20 or more hours a week with Julia while I worked and not only was a blessing to me but I'm convinced she has positively shaped Julia in ways I never could. "Gentle and nurturing" are challenging for me and come much easier and more genuine from Paige... so, yeah ... I miss her for me. But I miss her for Julia.
Who will love her as gently, as softly, as fully as Paige? It's hard to imagine living in this little town without her! I'm praying that God will help me love as much as she does. And I'm praying that He'll give me wisdom when it comes to Julia's own emotional development. I still have a long way to go in my own journey and hope to appropriately share whatever I can with my blooming toddler.
When it comes to dealing with our loss I know we'll share pictures, blog, and venture into a Skype, but I'm sure there will be sadness for weeks to come. So if I randomly burst into tears you'll know why. It's because she's too far away in "Muri".