Facing the grief



See that little girl up there in Jesus’ arms?  That’s my baby sister, Celeste.  We’re coming up on her 5th birthday, March 14th.  It’s been 5 years, 5 long years. 

Today I did something brave.  At first, I didn’t think much of it.  And then I realized it was pretty significant. 

I drove to Children’s Hospital. 

Children’s is the hospital that Celeste was transfered to the night she was born.  She spent all four months of her life there in the NICU and the PICU.  Once I was home for the summer that year, most of our days were spent figuring out how Mom would get to the hospital, who was watching the boys and on some days, who was going with Mom.  

Lauren needed a ride to work (she works at Children’s now).  So, since I was babysitting Zeke I was the obvious choice.  I haven’t been down there since the day Celeste died, July 23 2005 (which happened to be the day after my 19th birthday). 

Guess what?  I didn’t cry.  I had to pause for a minute to collect myself at one point.  But I didn’t cry.  It was weird seeing the hospital again.  I hadn’t really remembered how to get there or what it looked like.  I didn’t want to remember.  I have blocked out most of that year and part of the next because my grief was too great. 

Sometimes I think it is still too great.  But I also remind myself that I have Christ.  That he’s not only holding Celeste, but he’s holding me too.  I haven’t done a lot in my griveing process.  I’ve been stuck in depression and denial for the last 5 years.  

Today, I think it’s time to start moving towards acceptance.  This Lenten season will be a time to grieve.   A time to really let myself remember, let myself experience the pain that I’ve been burying deep inside.  I’m going to find a copy of my Mom’s book, Broken and Blessed.  I’m going to let my heart break over the next 40 days.  I’m going to read and look at pictures and tell my Grace about her Auntie Cece.  

And then, come Easter, I will be blessed. 


2 thoughts on “Facing the grief

  1. Great post Rachel. Sometimes the most healing times for us is when we take ourselves back to our point of grief, whether that means a place or a certain memory.

    Hope this lenton season brings some closure for you.

    Nicole (I go free)

  2. Hi Rachel – I stumbled on your blog via your mom’s fb page (the portal to all great things!). I don’t know if you remember me – I was Celeste’s transplant coordinator. I was so moved by your blog about coming dowm to CHM. It always amazes me that anyone who’s loved one died in the hospital could ever come back down to the place where so much of their pain began but many of those same people have told me that this is also the holder of many amazingly beautiful memories…. the first time they held their child.. or the last; their child’s first smile as well as memories they have of reading beloved books to them.

    I can’t imagine the pain you must feel at having experienced those long and difficult months as Celeste struggled in the hospital or the months that followed. I can only tell you how much of an imprint Celeste and your family has made on my own life and that of my children. During the time Celeste was with us, my daughters asked me everyday how Celeste was doing and when she died it was a real lost for them…. we have a small white cherub in our garden who is named Celeste and she makes me smile everytime I see her. Celeste taught me the importance of giving yourself over entirely to whatever experience God has planned for us. And that it is possible to find beauty and strength in even the smallest of moments – sunlight coming through a window, a hug or a baby’s beautiful gaze. I will always remember her…. and your family.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience here with the rest of the world!

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