Letter to Paige
I am sitting here at home trying to concentrate on work. Yet the only thing I can think about is you. Tomorrow we are going to see your marker, the epitaph that signifies your short life. I am numb. Things I know I told you that my parents never told me fill my thoughts. Things that I never could tell you will fill this page.
Yet again today, I had the courage to write to you. It has been so long since I have heard your voice. The pain is unbearable today. Well it is unbearable every day, yet Jesus sees me through. Words escape me as I try to tell you about my pain. Without you in my life, the tears flow unexpectedly. If not from my eyes, they fall from my soul. I miss you so.
Pop is working so hard and trying to stay focused. He does a great job, yet tears fill his eyes daily. He thinks I do not see or know, but you know he is still my soul mate and I feel his pain too. He loves you very much. He misses you more than words can describe. Pop’s pain is so real too. He never knows what and who he is coming home to, yet he comes home with a smile, a kiss and a hug . . . every day. He is taking good care of your mom. He raised you since you were 7 and you are truly his daughter too!
I have looked everywhere for God and I have found him. He makes his presence known by speaking through other people. Walking by faith and not by sight, is not just a “cute” verse, it is very real. I do it every day, because now you see honey, I am blind. I cannot see. I need God as my walking stick. How do people do this without God, Paige?
As I write this, I realize I am finally writing about my pain of the past 40 weeks. It just occurred to me that this is the same amount of time that you were safe inside of my body. It’s time to give birth to my pain. God never ceases to amaze me.
I have been seeing Dr. Karen Wilkinson to help me cope. Karen is a wonderful Christian woman, who prays like an angel and has the patience of Job. I know you would really like Karen. She has a gentle spirit and has readily held my hand throughout the last nine months. I have read books that Karen has suggested and given me. I have read books that I have found on my own. Thanks to the generosity of others, I now have a grief library that would rival Barnes and Noble.
Karen has helped me map out my life on a hand written time line, from my earliest memory until the day I was doing the time line. After it was completed, I was asked by Karen to narrow it down to my biggest hurt, my biggest pain, the one thing that takes my breath away. . .the one person that caused the most pain in my life . . . It was losing you. Then Karen narrowed it down as I was asked to do a time line on our relationship from the earliest memory until your death. Now this letter is the next step. This letter is supposed to heal the past and prepare me for the future as I walk with Jesus through life without you. This is not just any letter filled with grief, it a specific letter filled with apologies, forgiveness and joy filled memories.
I remember the first time I felt you move inside of me. I never felt physically healthier and more filled with joy, than when I was pregnant with you. Upon your birth, there was nothing less that utter elation that filled my soul. It was as if every single cell in my body was transformed from being a woman into being a mother. The joy that filled my body and soul when I first held you Paige was beyond words. So precious, so small and so blessed!
Paige, when I was pregnant with you, I had hoped and prayed that my relationship with your father would change. Yet as you approached your second year of life, I knew it would never transform into a healthy marriage that would give you the strength you needed to grow in faith and joy in a safe family environment. The pain that it caused you is agonizing to imagine. I am so sorry, honey for the pain that our divorce caused you.
The night that your father threatened me with death on the opposite side of the locked security door, he held your hand as you screamed out after the words left his lips. It was unbearable to see you go through that. He then frantically put you in his car . . . I can still hear your 4 year old screams, all the way down the street. At your young age, you knew what he said and I am so very sorry you had to endure that. I am so sorry.
I tried to make peace with your father. . .when I realized I was dealing with Satan. I had to come to grips with the fact that you were in God’s hands and I had to let go. It was then that I realized that God was using me as your shield. Every time I stepped into the courtroom after that, I saved a chair for Jesus. It was also during that time, that I learned to pray for your father. I prayed that he would become the father, through Christ, that you needed. So you could flourish and grow. I never ever wanted to hurt you my sweet baby. I love you so.
I am sorry that your sister and brother moved. I know that you loved them so and wanted them near you, and that was rapidly changing. I know it hurt you and you did not understand the independence that they felt growing in their mind, body and soul. It was quickly consuming them.
Yet Paige, as you were in the middle of your teen years, I remember one particular day. I am sorry that I was not a great listener. Frankly, there were times when I stunk. Paige, I remember the one time you looked at me and yelled at the top of your lungs, “I talk to you mom, but you don’t listen!” You stormed out of the room and slammed your bedroom door. I felt the house shake. I knew that I had hurt you. My mind went back to my teens . . . I didn’t want you to experience what I did. It hurt, but I tried so hard after that to not just hear, but to listen.
I am so sorry that Pop moved to North Dakota for a job. I know it hurt you beyond words. To have a wonderful step-father and the only man that treated you as a true father would. . .up and moved half way across the nation for a job, was too hard for you to understand. To understand that he was doing it for you. . .so you could continue at Fresno Christian. He sacrificed himself for you.
I must admit that after my near fatal accident, you changed. You were frightened as anger filled you and you ran away. I was so scared, but so numb from the accident. I almost died Paige. I so would have traded places with you so you could live today.
Paige, as you grew through the dysfunction of divorce, you blossomed in ways that make most kids cower. You would return home from visiting your father and adjust quickly. At times, I was concerned by how your humor might be masking the pain, but you proved me wrong there too. You were just naturally hysterically funny. Your slapstick comedy and your timing were impeccable.
I adored the way you ALWAYS wanted me at your games. I had to be there . . . The world according to Paige. “Ok,” I said. “No problem.” I was always there for you, or at least I did my best to be the travel mom, basketball mom, homeroom mom, the humorous mom, “mom, mom, mom, mom, mom,” and any kind of mom you needed at the time. The only mom I couldn’t be was the “save your life, mom.” I couldn’t be there to save you Paige. I did not get to hold you. Comfort you, take away your pain. Help you breathe your last breath. I would have taken away your pain. I so would have died for you.
I have been telling people that you made me a better mom. But what I haven’t said was that I could NOT be the ultimate mom and save your life. I had to give that one to Jesus. He is the only one that could and did do that. That is why I call him THE ONE AND ONLY. That is why no other parent or person can ever take a dying one’s place, even though they may plead and beg for God to let them. … Because Jesus already did. He died for you Paige, so you would have a beautiful place to go. One that I could never give you.
I tried so hard to keep you safe for Jesus, but now I realize that it was time for you to go home. I am working so hard to get to you and Jesus. . . So I will say, “Good bye for now, my sweet baby. I know I will see you again.”