No matter how much we plan or how well we deal with grief it finds ways to sneak in.
It found me recently when I shared a little about Quinn, my daughter who passed away April 7, 2012. It showed up in the form of eyes filled with tears—tears I could not seem to stop. We are blessed to be able to share about Quinn more than many who have similar stories, so the tears were unexpected. And yet, there they were.
As a father, I am not the least bit embarrassed by my tears or afraid to share them. As a wise friend shared with us regarding her own grief, she said: “I hope I always have the tears.”
One unfortunate part of sharing Quinn’s story regularly is telling the story has become easier. When I think about the first time I tried to tell someone Quinn had died it was excruciating. I could hardly speak and I was crying. The words “Quinn died this morning” came out in an almost silent whisper. But now, it doesn’t bring me to tears each time. Oftentimes, I see the sadness appear on the face of the person I am talking to, and I am reminded that I am talking about my child’s death. This should be making them sad.
I have gotten used to saying the words. I have become practiced at telling people about my greatest tragedy without letting the grief consume me. Gradually, I have made it through conversations without breaking down. But afterward, I needed to take the time to calm down. Maybe a few minutes in silence or a quick walk to a peaceful location to let my heart stop racing and have the anxiety subside. Even today, 4 years later, I still need that time.
For me and maybe for you – grief is not always about tears. Grief is always a part of me and it does still sneak up on me. In a way, I hope it always does. And I hope I remain grateful that the tears always return.
The tears feel like memories to me. As you get farther away from things that happen, they become harder to remember clearly. I worry if my tears will be the same way, and that losing them will be another way of losing Quinn, a sign that my memories are beginning to fade. I do not want those memories to fade, even though with every day I know I am closer to seeing Quinn again.
Written by Marc Seymour
Marc is a dad to two kids and happily married. He loves to golf and spend time with his wife and family. His daughter, Quinn, was born with Junctional EB – Herlitz and participated in the Bone Marrow Transplant trial at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. She passed away April 7, 2012.