This past weekend was a bittersweet one. Last Saturday would have been Taylor’s 34th birthday. I turned 34 two days before and it is strange to contemplate the passing of time and the fact that I have already had two more birthdays on earth than were written for my husband. I knew I would be okay on this day if I just stayed busy and put my focus on something good. With our daughter, Charlotte, about to turn three over labor day weekend, I decided we would have her party a week early. I can’t think of a better way to honor Taylor’s birthday than by gathering together with friends and family and celebrating his living legacy.
Charlotte was not even 18 months old when Taylor died. The dagger that comes with her turning three is realizing that my baby has already lived over half of her life without her dad. Half of her life and she isn’t even in Pre-K. The thought that my daughters won’t have their biological father walk them down the aisle or meet their own children one day has constantly floated through my mind for the last 18 months. It’s all the little things my girls will miss out on that I try not to dwell on too much because I know my heart can’t possibly handle it.
18 months ago I remember feeling thankful that Charlotte was too young to understand what was going on. Thankful that I only had to answer the questions of one child for the foreseeable future. Now that she is getting older, she has her own questions and memories that she wants to share. She asks me to tell her the same stories over and over again about her daddy when she was a baby. I always oblige, wishing hopelessly that there were more I could share. I’ve been faithful in accepting that my husband’s death at 32 years old was not just his destiny, but also an intertwined part of God’s plan for my life on this earth. I have a slightly harder time accepting this for my children because as a parent you don’t want them to experience any pain or learn any lessons the hard way.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”Revelation 21:4
There is a phenomenon that has been coined to refer to successful people who lost a parent at a young age. They are called the “eminent orphans.” I first came across this term scrolling through a list of random facts on Pinterest. The theory is that the loss of a parent at a young age propels the child into greatness by forcing them to have resilience and grace under pressure. Some might call it gumption. Nearly 1/3 of our American presidents and over 2/3 of the British Prime Ministers fall into this category of the eminent orphan.
In those first few days after Taylor passed, our oldest daughter, then almost four, put on the Elsa dress she got for Christmas and lived in it for the next week. I was worried that in processing her grief this might turn into a thing and I’d be the town widow with the town weirdo. While Margot still loves to dress up, the phase didn’t last. However, Charlotte has gone to school almost every day this year in some kind of princess dress or costume. It’s cute now and I am happy to let her pick the outfits that make her happy and save myself the battle. It is also not lost on me that the majority of princess movies or tales of heroes begin with a backstory that introduces us to an eminent orphan. God already knows our backstories. The incredible thing is that He also already knows our endings because He wrote them all and wrote them for good. We can trust that this ending, no matter how tragic it may seem in our world, is ultimately for the glory of His eternal kingdom!!
Copyright © 2021 M. Marley, LLC