In the Becoming Me blogs we’ve heard from 2 widowers, 4 widows and 1 mother. This month we’re introducing you to another mother who lost a daughter who died, February 26, 2021, two days before my Larry entered his final resting place. Judy Moore, a longtime friend and wife to Trip, is our author. To lead into Judy’s blog post, I want to remind all of us with a quote from Mary White’s book entitled, Harsh Grief Gentle Hope by Navpress after she and Jerry lost a son in a violent attack:
“There is not a word in English to describe the loss of a child. Widow /
widower describes the loss of a spouse: orphan defines loss of mother
and father, but when bereaved parents need to tell of their suffering,
no single word carries the painful message.”
That quote hit me with a sharp pain to my heart and made me more aware of grief being the price of love and all losses of folks we love lead us to become without them. We want this column to mainly be about spouses but not to minimize other family losses. We will feature blogs by those who have lost parents, siblings and children periodically. To continue with Judy’s blog I want to introduce Larry and Annie’s special relationship. Annie believed Larry’s name was Robert Redford and was very pleased whenever he acknowledged her call outs from across a room. A funny incident took place at the Holiday Inn in Winona Lake at a very crowded Sunday buffet. We didn’t see the Moore family in the crowd, suddenly a loud voice yelled, “There’s Robert Redford” the crowded room became silent. Every picture we found of Annie and Larry was of him singing to Annie and Annie giving that big smile along with those dancing big brown eyes.
Now welcome Judy Moore and The God of All Losses
Becoming me without Larry,
A Becoming Me Without You Blog
By Judy Moore
Our daughter’s unexpected arrival transformed our lives. Born with spina bifida and abandoned at birth, 8-month-old Annie was assigned to me for physical therapy at the clinic where I worked. Her bright eyes and gregarious personality struck me like lightning. That very evening, Trip and I rushed to the hospital ward to adopt her. It was a “God thing,” we still say today – she was meant to be ours. In my enormous naivety, my heart reverberated with the dream of all she would become.
As a physical therapist, I was well aware of Annie’s physical challenges and how to confront them, but did not anticipate the emotional struggles she would face as an adult. I struggled as her life choices sometimes brought on heartbreaking results.
Finally at 41, Annie winged her way heavenward. The respirator pumped rhythmically as we stood vigil, but once it was silenced, she was also. Had she heard our murmured prayers, felt our touch as we stroked her hair and whispered goodbye?
C. S. Lewis described grief as “being mildly drink or concussed.” Concussed resonated with me. I was more forgetful than usual, listless, my brain foggy. The emptiness and vacuum loomed large.
In the weeks that followed Annie’s passing, Trip and I crossed paths like the walking wounded, as though swaths of protective cotton batting separated us from each other. The distance was not harsh. We settles into our own unexpressed private islands of mourning. I did not panic; I knew the time would come to share our pain. I secretly wondered how to make sense of it all and had briefly entertained the Machiavellian idea that God was using Annie to teach me how to love.
Contacting government agencies and filing papers brought purpose to my day. I fought to bring dignity to Annie’s existence. We found solace in sorting through old photographs and creating a video of Annie’s life. Affection and joy permeated our young family. Challenges too, but overall, we laughed and loved throughout those years.
Grieving is a deep and solitary work, but in the midst of my regret and sorrow, God has tenderly reassured me that as His beloved daughter, my deepest being has nothing to prove and nothing to lose. (Romans 8:1, 35-39). Life with Jesus has taught me to open my arms wide to embrace the hurt. I am grateful for the day God brought Annie into our lives. Hope continues to grow in a secret place in my soul.