On July 24, 2020, I became a grandmother for the first time!
I’ve known this was going to happen for a while, yet I wasn’t fully prepared for the flood of emotion that arrived upon the sight of my granddaughter’s face at 3 AM on a Saturday morning. It rocked my world like few other things have; the birth of my own children, come to mind.
The death of my daughter rocked my world in a different way.
In these first few days of my granddaughter’s life I remembered back to the early days of Peter and Leah’s life. And I can never think of Leah’s birth without thinking of her death. As always when I think of her, there is a mixture of sadness and joy. Right now my heart is so full of joy and love.
On August 15th, we packed up our rented RV and set off to meet our granddaughter, Arya Soleil Loeffler for the first time. Because of the times in which we are living, we all came to the decision that this was a safe way to travel and minimize the risks that we have all been living with since March.
We had an amazing trip!
Camping in our RV for the first time, staying in friends and relative’s driveways when logistics allowed, and enjoying each other’s company on the long 3 day drives each way. Even Kali, our cat came along, and eventually calmed down and found a place to chill.
We returned from our adventure on Labor Day weekend. I’m still integrating the blessings and grace of that visit. Holding Arya, and imprinting the feel of her in my arms so I can remember her now, spending more time with Peter and Christine, and getting to know our gift granddaughter, Marlowe better. We even got to celebrate Marlowe’s 8th birthday while we were there, and learned about mermaids and dragons from her.
The biggest gift I received is the realization that if I had not met my grief the way I did when Leah died, I would not have been able to meet my granddaughter with an open heart. I would have had too may layers of protection around it to allow the fullness of my joy to be felt.
What a huge surprise that was!
As I’ve continued to integrate all that has happened in the last few weeks, stepping fully into my new role as a grandmother, and an elder, I’ve had several conversations about my realization that learning how to be with my painful and difficult feelings, especially on my grief journey have allowed me to fully experience the joy of my granddaughter.
In one conversation, my friend reflected back to me what I told him, and gave me some additional insight. When I said yes to my grief journey, I had no idea what the impact 20 years down the road would be like. I didn’t do it for any implied payback. I did it to honor Leah and the message I received that losing her is too high a price to pay to not live the life I was meant to live.
I didn’t know that almost 20 years later my granddaughter would benefit from a decision I made back then.
I didn’t know that the life I was meant to live included welcoming a precious granddaughter into my heart.
I responded with faith back then. Faith means we trust without seeing results, without even knowing that there will be results.
So many new insights are available to us when we meet what is here in each moment. Each moment plants seeds for future moments.
Our world is rocked alright! We are looking long and hard at our future and making some decisions. For now, I start each day gazing at Arya’s sweet face and feeling the love in my heart explode, and allowing the smile to return to my face.