NOTE: This is me processing grief. This is not inspirational. This is the grief I feel. It is important to me to document this for my sake. And if it helps one other person to not feel alone, to know they are not on their own, well, that is why I publish this writing.

Sorry I’ve been away. I’ve been on Pause. Not depression. Not even melancholy. Just a reticence to sit down and write. And I love to write. Is it fear of hurting again?

So many anniversaries this past week. Last Saturday marked one year ago that we lost Emma. Last night (Friday) all I kept thinking about while sitting with Marie and friends is “last year I was greeting the longest line of people I’d ever seen. Wow, if Emma only knew the impact she had.” And today I wake up and know that one year ago I was being driven to the funeral home with my wife to commence putting my daughter in the ground.

The ground. I visit Emma’s grave often. I have this thing that I do. As you all know, Emma loved dogs. So one day I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up a sleeve of dogs. Little dogs of all shapes, sizes and colors. Then when I stop at Emma’s grave I “find the dog.” You see, I put this little plastic dog on her headstone (plaque, really) and the weather, of course, moves it here and there. So I guess, in a very weird way, it’s fun for me to find and reset the dog.

emma lengquist  grief

Sometimes I change the dog. Now the dog is a Dalmatian. I probably should have thought that through with all the snow. But I digress, again.

The ground. The ground has healed. The headstone has been set and the dirt settled and the grass grew again. Geese walk amongst the acres of lives spent and think nothing of all the stories and impacts and heartaches and joys that each of those markers represent.

In many ways, I too have begun to heal. This is my new life without Emma. This is my new life doing what I can to bring awareness to adoption, special needs and mental health care. This is my new life of reassessing how I interact with my wife and remaining three children. This is my new life of clinging to the hope I have in Christ.

Still, I’m not the ground. My foundation hasn’t settled. Sure, maybe on the surface the grass has grown over and I can still work, I can still laugh, I can still love. And to some degree I enjoy all those things just a little bit more because they reverberate off the hollow space left behind. That hollow space that I can feel. That hollow place I dare not peer into too long.