It was late September and life was good. It had been a very long hot summer, everything was dry and we were ready for rain.
My husband and I both had lucrative careers and I was finally on the cooperate ladder I wanted to be on. Work was demanding and I was spending a lot of time away from home. We had put off the whole idea of having children, so many things we wanted to do or better yet “experience” first. But life had other ideas for us, and our baby girl was born in May and was a bouncing bundle of energy. Beautiful golden curls and a round pudgy face dotted with the freckles I had spent my childhood wasting every birthday wish on. Aurora was funny, full of quirks and had somewhat slowed us down a bit, but not much.
Two years later we got a very unexpected surprise, my sister gave us custody of her two boys. They were 4 and 2. So we quickly had three children under the age of four. A nanny later and we were back to the plan. Work had taken over almost every aspect of our lives. My husband was had just finished dental school and had started his own practice, and I was working my way up to VP.
We built a home in a rural area, welcoming the privacy, hiring the acreage out to have hay planted. My husband had always wanted dogs and horses, and so we delved into that investment and tried to find the time to devote to our animals, children and church. Life was simply beautiful. Or so I thought it was.
It had been a brutal summer. But the clouds rolling in on the horizon were swollen and full of promise for the much needed rain. I was on my way home in the mid evening. I stopped and took pictures of the bold and daring lightening strikes. It was a pretty amazing display of energy, and among the beautiful fall foliage it was simply spectacular.
I saw the lightening hit. The boom about knocked me over. I was on the last switch back heading up to our home. I couldn’t actually see the ground, but I could tell it had hit in the field behind our home. It wasn’t seconds later, as I was frantically getting into my car, that I saw the smoke.
By the time I got to the house, the field and barn were engulfed. The fire was so hot. The flames just ate up the dry wood and weeds. I am not sure I remember exactly when I realized that Aurora was in the barn. Megan was screaming about the kittens... and the fire trucks got there..and I looked around the boys were there...and slowly... it sunk in.. Aurora was in the barn. She was teasing those kittens we had recently discovered. Up in the loft.
The rain came later. Long sheets of cold moisture. Pounding against my skin. I don’t remember feeling it. I do remember being wet though. I remember screaming, kicking and clawing. Its like an old movie that was taken with a wide camera lens, the kind that has the crackles in it, that seem not so clear and maybe yellowed.
The next three years are a blur. Pain and darkness over came our house. The kids were sullen and the walls were dark. I couldn’t look at my husband nor he at me. The quiet ate us up almost. When it wasn’t quiet there was yelling. Blame can take on the form of many ugly monsters. I felt cold inside. Cold, confused, disoriented and numb.
I couldn’t tell you the date he left. He couldn’t bare to look at me anymore, for the pain in my eyes and I couldn’t see past the self inflicted guilt. He tried. I know he did. Tried to reach inside of me, to that place that I had retreated, but I shoved him away, is SO many different ways... push and pushed. I wouldn’t let him touch me, I wouldn’t open up and talk to him, I mean doing that would indicate that I wasn’t alright, after all. I quit living.
I sat in my bed, slept, took sleeping pills, everything I could do to avoid thought. My sisters and parents were forbidden from coming to my home, except to pick up the boys and take them places. I missed birthdays, Christmas, Easter everything.
It would be three years and a little, before I came “to.” When my son looked at me with those huge blue eyes and said, “Momma, won’t you please take me for a walk. I miss Aurora so much, she used to walk with me, remember Momma...?” That is what it took. The flood gates opened on that walk. And...it didn’t close for a very long time.
It hurt. Everything hurt. Remembering still hurts. I have raged at God, screamed, hollered, and accused. I have taken solace and comfort in the peace the spirit affords, and then raged again.
I took her pictures down, locked her things away, hid from her existence. I can finally look at them again. Finally.
Its been years, and years. My sons are now eighteen and sixteen. Five years ago, I finally let someone in and met and married someone new. He has been incredibly gentle with me, and has helped me find the peace I have longed for.
The guilt is incredible, I don’t know if I will ever get past it. My life is so different now. A smaller home, I wouldn’t work for a dime. I went through a long period when I wouldn’t let my other children out of my sight. I have a different view on what is important, and dear to me. I am softer, more sensitive, I “feel” everything, from the pile on the towels to every little word said to me.
I don’t know that I will ever think, “Oh, I have learned so much from this experience”, I can’t even glance down that road. I won’t ever be grateful for this experience either. No matter what people say, there is very little solace in that line of thought for me. Yes, I have learned a lot, yes, I know myself better, yes I have been blessed. But grateful? Not yet.
When I unexpectedly got pregnant two years ago my husband and I were terribly taken off guard. He nor I thought I could have another child. We had been told that, by a couple of different docs. I shifted into a downward spiral. I didn’t really want to have this baby. The thoughts were over powering to me. In a lot of ways, I raged at the Lord again.
And then Ethan entered our lives, and new pain as well as clearer understanding and blessings have ensued.
Ethan is a whole other story... He is the most amazing gift. At two, after multiple surgeries, brain damage, deaf/blindness and global developmental delays, a tight rope of not knowing if he would survive or not, he is a full of life child who takes my breath away. Ethan, our beautiful son who I know beyond a shadow of a doubt dances between the Veil that separates this life from other ones. Every once and a while...he looks off into the blue and laughs out loud and wiggles his toes, and I know... he is with her.
Aurora’s life and existence seem a lifetime away, but in the summer afternoon or when I see the grain dancing in the wind, I can’t help but remember, and I am transported back again, to her freckled face smile and light blue eyes and sometimes I can even smile.
This is a guest post from a friend.