When It's Hard to Breathe.

Lately I've been finding it hard to breathe. Pregnancy issues... no. Moving related... no. It's grief. I feel like it's swallowing me whole. Everynight for the past week or so I have dreamt about my sister. And there's always a wedding. Someone's wedding. It changes everynight. So sometimes I literally have to stop and take deep breaths. I cried a lot today. I cried over what could have been and what I have lost. I cried over my brother-in-law. I cried for my family. I cried that I am once again having a child that my sister won't meet, hug or snuggle on this side of earth. My throat is sore from all the supressed tears.

Her birthday is next Friday. She would have been 25.

The pain is so deep. I don't think someone could ever understand until they've tasted death. Until it happens to you it doesn't make sense. Sometimes I wonder if this is how it feels for normal people at the end of their life. You start to experience the loss of others. But maybe it doesn't matter because by then your life is long and you're ready to go home. Maybe then those you lose have had a long time. Not that it's ever great to lose someone. I guess tragic & sudden losses are a different experience.

I'm reading Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis) again. The last time I read it was shortly before Libby passed. It was one of her favorite books and I'm glad that I can sit and enjoy a book that she loved. It makes me feel closer to her somehow.

My plans for the 7th include: eating some ice-cream, letting go of some balloons for Libby & Sam, watching Return to Me and bawling my eyes out, and working on a scrapbook page of her. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

"Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell." ~ Emily Dickinson

She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~George Eliot

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. ~John Taylor


erin. said…
Jen, just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you. I can't understand exactly what you feel but there is grief and pain in my heart for what I can only imagine you are going through. I logged on tonight because I have a neighbor friend who I am getting to know who suddenly lost her 2 year old daughter three weeks ago. I remembered the book you reccommended so I wanted to come back and get the title of it. I'll be buying it or asking for it for Christmas. But thank you for sharing what you are going through and recommending that book. If I had not read what you've shared on here before about the grief you experience and what has helped you I don't think I would have had the courage to really reach out to this mom.
It's funny how I can feel we are friends even through a blog. Sometimes I just want to reach out and give you a big hug!
Anonymous said…
You must brush your teeth first thing in the morning (before you even speak a word!). Then Lucky Charms, rootbeer in a bottle, twizzlers, sour patch kids, "Libby's Chicken", sweet and sour chicken, a Blizzard (you can spread these throughout the day b/c it might be too much for breakfast!). Paint your nails and then remove it 10 minutes later, ride a horse, snort when you laugh. Remember to stretch the corners of your eyes out while you laugh so you don't get crow's feet. Gasp really loud at something minor so you scare everyone around you and almost cause an accident. Add "My Girl", "A Walk to Remember", and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" to your list of movies to watch. That's all I can think of right now.

Love you, girl! Sharon Elisabeth
Michelle said…
Would you be open to spending some time on the phone that day with your friend Michelle? Or do you think you'll prefer to indulge in sugar, movies, and tears without the burden of a phone call? Well, I'll call -- feel free to hit silence and go about your day if it's simply too much in the moment. But know I love you and will be thinking of you.
Anonymous said…
Honor her life - pray for your friends and family. Encourage and love others like you want to do nothing else with life. Write three encouragement notes and call your husband to tell him how much you love him...

going back to highschool days: Don't even think about wearing any make-up! and make sure your shoes match before you leave the house :)

Remember that it's okay to have a cat if you're allergice to feathers... Cats don't have feathers!

Buy a pretty ornament at Target to put on your tree.

Where comfy pj pants all day with fuzzy slippers. Laugh uncontrollably at absolutely nothing.

Tell your precious little ones a few funny stories about their Aunt Libby and then tell them how much you love her and how much she would have loved them and how she is looking down and seeing them and loving them and waiting for the day when we will all be together again.

Then, don't forget to laugh some more and to do all the things Sharon said :)

I love you Jennifer Leigh Napier!!
Add to the list to give the Turtle Girl a call ;)
Jennifer said…
Thanks a lot guys. You all made me cry. My kids are staring at me and Libby keeps asking, "Mommy, you have a rainbow in your eye?" (Translation- You crying?). Yep. Great suggestions friends. Please call me if you think of it. I don't know if I'll be able to talk but the thought of hearing the voices of the friends I love warms my heart. If I don't answer don't assume it's not that I don't want to talk, I might be changing diapers or crying too hard or unable to find my charger after packing... who knows?

I'm tempted to feel slightly frustrated/resentful that I am packing and moving during this time because I don't feel like I have the mental and emotional energy right now but I know God is going to sustain me...maybe with the help of some Trader Joes' mac n'cheese (which Kelsey got me addicted to.)

Erin- I am so sorry for you friend who lost her child. The book I recommended, I'm shooting off the top of my head because I don't have it with me (it's packed) is What Can I Do?: Ideas and Suggestions for Those who have experienced loss by Barbara Glanz. I will also ask for my mom for ideas on books on child bereavement. There were some she found helpful over time. A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sitser really helped me. He lost 2 or 3 children, his wife, and his mother in one accident. It was awful. Let me suggest though not giving her books right now. Comfort food is wonderful when grieving. Bottled water. Warm Blankets. Flowers. Cards. Home-made bread. A plant. Little notes of care. Does she have any other children? Maybe offer to baby-sit so she can have some alone time if she does. Being there for someone can mean so much. I highly recommend Barbara's book though. It gives great ideas and lots of valuable insight on grieving people. Blessings on you friend.
Anonymous said…
Oh yeah- how could I forget that you MUST sing a song with your kiddos! Lib loved singing- maybe "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and the Bubblegum song. :)
Billie said…
I will be praying for you and your family. I have already started thinking of this time of year and how it must be so hard. I remember Libby's smile and laugh. I guess my suggestion for Dec.7th would include those things. It will be hard to do those I am sure but maybe you could recall a really funny moment you shared with her. I was scared to even write this comment because I have not "tasted death" or anything close to it but I really am lifting you all up in my prayers and my heart breaks for your sadness. Please find strength for these tough days in our father in heaven who carries each one of your tears. Also, I think you should do all the things Sharon said...they sound just like Libby and like tons of fun.
Anonymous said…
So many of us are missing Libby.......but know that you and your family are lifting you all in prayer.
We love you all so much and hope you will feel all the love that is coming your way.
Ashleigh said…
Jennifer, I can't even imagine the pain and grief. I'll be praying for you. Let me know if you need anything.

Oh, and "Return to Me" is definitely a good movie to weep with.

Love you!
Anonymous said…
I am lost for words my love.... thank you for your blog. xoxo dad
Jessica Rockey said…
Steel Magnolias!!!
I think of you every time I watch that.
I feel so stupid when I have nothing 'encouraging' to say when you're grieving... kinda like when Sally Field's character breaks down and her friends tell her that her hair's holdin' up 'just fine'.
I always mark Libby's birthday on the calander... it's still her birthday.
Iremember the time at caregroup when she accidently through Hammies dentures in the toilet! I can still hear her screaming with embarrasment... and giggling in the bathroom with about 5 other girls.
I try to imagine your pain so often... I don't pretend to know what you're feeling, but I love you and am praying for you.
Anonymous said…
My love and genuine grief are not limited by the ocean between. My memories of your sister are vivid at times; she shone brightly--brighter than most. Though I know it is what drives the pain, please also consider on Friday the joy and difference her indelilbe mark on this earth has made--and revel in it. Express her in your own way. I am not only praying for you, your family and Gris, but I will be with you in spirit the whole day.

love, your brother,
john meade
Katherine M. said…
When I think of Libby, I remember her unassuming way. I remember her beautiful smile and unending laughter. I remember how other-centered she was. She'd come by to take Rachael out to lunch and shopping and buy her stuff!I remember her serving others, always serving, like Sara and Aaron and the Waskos. I remember her devotion to you and to Christopher and your folks. I remember the fun she and Rebekah had together--always laughing or crying because they were laughing. I remember the tons of pictures Rebekah has of the two of them taking cheek to cheek shots of themselves. I remember the last time I talked to her...that Sunday morning and her joy and beauty, almost more than usual. Mostly I remember that Libby loved Jesus and when they sang "Come to Jesus" at her memorial service how that song seem to speak of the undying passion and message of her life.

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