Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Sacred Sorrows introduces Susen Hickman, a new contributing writer. She lives in Northern California with her poodle, Woody. Sue is the mother of Michele who passed to heaven at the age of 17. She has two other children - Mike and Matt and a grandchild, Max. Sue is involved with other non-profit, supportive groups that include East Bay Services to the Developmentally Disabled, and an additional organization that helps women and girls in Malawi, Africa express themselves through writing. Sue has published one book - a memoir about the loss of both her husband and daughter.
One of my clearest memories of saying goodbye to my daughter, Michele, was the day she died. I recall standing at a window in the ICU staring out into the clear, blue sky (not thinking anything – just staring) when I felt a sensation in my chest - like angels’ wings fluttering. I turned around to look at my daughter and my beautiful girl was gone. I have no doubt that those angel wings were hers. That was my first goodbye.
But as time goes by, I find myself in a constant state of saying goodbye. Once doesn’t seem enough. How could I ever, ever say goodbye forever?
There was the day I tried to sort though her clothes and belongings. Talk about heartbreak! I’d walk into her room, sit on her bed stroking the clothes that she would never wear again, reading her diary that she would never write in again. Eventually, I did say goodbye to her possessions. Not really her, I’d tell myself. Just earthly trappings. So, I managed to say goodbye - again.
There still remain memories, photos, family gatherings – all asking me to say goodbye again and again. This is too painful. Too much to ask of me. Not fair! When was life ever about being fair? I ask myself.
I know one day I will be reunited with my precious daughter and I truly believe she is in the loving arms of God with her dad and grandparents.
So over the years my heart has reached a stage of a kind of peace, hope, and grace. Peace - knowing she is at peace, hope - waiting for a day of reunion (oh, how wonderful that will be) and grace – resting in a life still to be lived.
But - there always seems to be a ‘but,’ doesn’t there?
Here I am, still in a constant goodbye.