Scroll down to the bottom of the page
to see a video of Gretta
and pictures from her funeral

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Year Mark

Well, here we are. I would not have thought I would make it to the one year mark. Of course you know in your mind that you will probably get there, barring death, but it doesn't seem possible at the beginning.

What has changed since those first days? My body isn't physically "aching intensely" for Gretta. I still have days, no doubt, but the constant physical pain isn't there. I have days when I feel okay now, I didn't for the first few months. I have laughed when I didn't think laughter would ever be possible again. I have slept an entire night through without a sleeping aid. I have gone a few hours, even most of a day without thinking about Gretta's death. I feel stronger but not strong enough relying heavily on..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

The anniversary brought with it some of the first feelings however. Matt and I both had extreme anxiety the two weeks prior to the anniversary. I began having flashbacks of her death and all that happened that day. I remembered things about the day I hadn't thought about or known (like, how I put her hair into two pigtails on top that morning for the first time). I ached for her again, relentlessly. I noticed every little girl around the age of two and wondered why I didn't have my baby again. I couldn't sleep again for the week prior to Septemeber 4th. I longed for Heaven.

I don't know what to expect this year, but I imagine, again, that we will make it through. I was telling Matt the other night, our "New Years" are forever changed now. Our years will start on September Fourth and end on September 4th.

The day of Gretta's death anniversary, we spent with family and friends. A short visit to the grave to view her stone (which was finally put in two days before). Then we all went to a community center near my parents and had a potluck meal. Our family friends, The Ophovens, have a family band, they played a concert for us after dinner. Their eldest daughter, Katie, wrote a song for Gretta, an instrumental piece; absolutely beautiful. The name of the song is Gretta Claire. I have a recording and will try to get that on my blog.
I held it together until late in the evening. A friend of ours had made a quilt of Gretta's clothing, Kathy Timm. That was an unexpected gift that evening and we spent some time remembering the outfits that she wore. It was beautiful. We also recieved a card from some other friends of ours, Tiffany and John Clark, whose daughter Taylor reminds us of Gretta in size and shape. After Gretta had passed away last year, they gave us a card with Taylors hand and feet outlined in it, so that we could remember how big Gretta was. This year they gave us another card with Taylors new measurements, for a three year old. That did it for me, I cried a bit then.
It wasn't until I returned home a couple days later, alone it turned out, that I went to her memorial website and really cried. I don't cry much in front of people, mostly because I know how uncomfortable it makes them. So I save it for when I am alone.

I am thankful for all of our friends that came and supported us. My sweet friend Katie took pictures again. (She is the one who did the funeral and viewing photos as well as creates my blog decor and slideshows etc.) I just feel blessed from all that have been given to us by our family and friends. My mother worked tirelessly to put the day together, cooking and cleaning and hostessing for us as well as my dear friend Carla, who is always helping us endlessly in many many ways.

Here are a couple pictures of her stone and the day. Hopefully Katie will have some better pictures for later.


Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions of this anniversary. I still think of your family often and continue to pray for comfort for you. Tears came as I read this....remembering the shock and the way I ached for you at this time a year ago. Blessings on the journey.

A day in the Life... said...

I am sorry that I missed seeing her quilt. I will have to look at it next time that I see you. I am glad you had a good day. I will get you the pictures that I took soon.

Linda Kaiser said...

That cemetery looks a lot like the one Cheyenne is buried in. I hope I can be of some help to you this year as I was last year. I am always here if you need to talk about things.
This year might be a little more trying, but you have the God of all comfort. I know He will get you though it.
Love and hugs to you and your family!

LL said...

What a beauty Gretta is, and what a special tribute to her little and very precious life. I prayed for you that day and I know God will continue to uphold your family. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed."

Jody said...

Hi, Leslie,

The slideshow is very beautiful! What a sweet tribute to Gretta. I know I already emailed you, but wanted to say again that you were in my prayers all day that day. Of course, you're in my prayers every day, but especially the 4th.

I'm glad you made it through. I feel the same way about Aug. 14. Every year now starts and ends there.

Keep on taking it a day at a time. We can do it!

Much love,


Alex Jerry; Stephanie Jerry said...

The slideshow is beautiful and I have to say, I LOVE the song that was created for her memory. My goodness! What a blessing to have such a beautiful song made only for Gretta.
Take care,