Now, not quite a month later, it seems so much further away. When looking around the house, I don't expect to see her in her places anymore. I hardly leave the door open a second longer than it takes to get Sadie out of the house. I don't even reach for two bones out of the "cookie jar," just one.
I hate that. I never wanted to forget.
But this morning I called for her. Out of the blue it sang from my mouth, "Tillie Baaaang-errrr!" (I know, weird people give weird nicknames.) Not sure if I expected a response but of course silence and the
"Tillie Baaaang-errrrrr!!" We all sang this time. "Tillie Baaaannnggg-errrr, Tillie Baaaannngg-errrrr!" Three voices celebrating in our pajamas.
It just feels good to keep her here. To say her name. To include her and keep her going in the ways that feel normal to us.
We understand our loss is not as great as others who are going through barbed hot wire of hell inside a volcano of hurt every hour but when it comes to grieving, there is no reason to compare.
We miss her. We still love her. It feels right to say her name.
The first two weeks were filled with me in an utter fog. I felt so guilt stricken that I couldn't soothe my own sadness. Crying jags would come on suddenly and take way too long to subside. During that time, dear Abby would take it upon herself to comfort her momma. She would disappear to her drawing table and several minutes later come to me with her peace offering. Pictures of Tillie. Pictures of Tillie with Sadie. Pictures of Tillie and her in a castle. Pictures of Tillie on clouds up high near a sun with five perfect spokes.
Then she said the thing I will never forget. My little 3 year old girl child told me it's okay to cry because it makes her draw pictures. "And every time I draw a picture of Tillie, it makes her spirit dance."
Dear Tillie, I'm sure you're exhausted up in heaven from having to dance for almost three straight weeks. Bless your beautifully loving and patient heart.
But remember, we haven't forgotten you and never will because we love you.