Our beautiful daughter Emersyn Paige passed away from SMA Type 1 on April 7th,2009 at the age of 7 months old. This blog is dedicated to her life, legacy and spirit and our journey as a family through grief.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School

It’s been a while since I have written on Emersyn’s blog and without making tons of excuses as to why I will just say I felt the need to write again. The truth is I feel the need to write everyday but sometimes I just feel too emotionally stuck to put into words how I’m feeling. I also feel guilty taking time away from Isla to write as I want to give her as much of my attention as I can. I also know that in order to do that I need to take time just for Emersyn and so here I am doing just that. There are a lot of factors pushing me to write today. It usually gets to a point where I am doing a bit better for a while at carrying my pain and then more and more days come where I find myself pulled totally inward with grief. I am usually pretty good about expressing how I feel with people I love but then there are days when I don’t want to talk to anyone and I don’t have the words to articulate the pain that sometimes overtakes me. I think there are times when silence and not reaching out can be mistaken for me doing better and some days that is true but right now I am having more days where that is not the case.

Because it has been more than three years since Emersyn died I am starting to become accustomed to times of the year where my grief is particularly intense. Two weeks from now on September 16th Emersyn would have been turning four years old and she would have been starting Junior Kindergarten. I find my grief journey continues to evolve with new layers as Emersyn gets older in my mind and as I realize all of the things she would be missing out on that she would have loved. As a primary teacher the thought of Emersyn going to JK would have been so special for both of us. I know these are milestones that are more parent driven versus what actually really matters in life but I think starting school is a rite of passage and a gift that every child should get to experience.

I can only picture how Emersyn would look now at four years old. I think she would have been tall with dark brown soft curly hair (daddy’s genes) with her big brown eyes and warm genuine smile. I imagine she would have looked so much older but still looked like my baby to me. I imagine she would have wanted to pick out her back pack, lunch box and some kind of important “first day of school outfit” and of course the shoes……. you can’t forget the shoes! I imagine she would have drawn the other kids in with her charm and humour and she would have wanted to please her teacher……I might be being a little biased here but a mom can dream ;) The point is all I can do is dream and I am sad that when I return to work this Tuesday and welcome all of my eager and excited Grade 1 students I can’t help but think of Emersyn standing in the JK line smiling with the classic excitement and anticipation that all kids feel on their first day of school. I picture her waving to us pretending not to be nervous but inside her little heart would be pounding with a mixture of emotions and I imagine as her parents we would have felt the same. I wish my imagination wasn’t so vivid but it’s a story I play in my head and more importantly in my heart as her mother. Some people may think I am torturing myself by going into these details but the truth is they are there any way so I hope bringing them out will help to purge some of this built up angst. As each ‘would have been milestone’ approaches and passes I feel like Jason and I have no choice but to face each one of them and mourn those too. I am learning it is all part of this journey as we are continually educated by our grief. It is an ongoing education.

Another major layer to the way I am feeling is my return to teaching now that my maternity leave with our precious Isla has come to an end. Isla has been my reason for getting up every morning and feeling happiness again. She has brought so much comfort and healing to my heart and I just can’t get enough of my sweet girl! I am continually amazed that my heart has the ability to be broken and filled with so much love and joy at the same time. Again since having Isla this is a new layer in our journey that three years ago I never thought would be possible. Isla is over 14 months old now and I have cherished each and every day that I have had with her. Because of Isla I can taste my food again, I am learning new recipes and regaining my love for cooking, I am now better able to navigate the grocery store and the shopping malls where all I could seem to see after Emersyn died was pregnant women and happy intact families. Because of Isla I am regaining my confidence as a mother. Now I have to buy groceries not just for Jay and I but most importantly for Isla and as a result my heart is lighter going to these places that were once too painful to even think about. Because of Isla I no longer have to look the other way when I pass the park now I can actually go there and watch her laugh and smile as she soars on the swings. It helps that I love my job and our amazing home daycare provider otherwise there is no way I could leave her every day. It helps that Jason is so supportive and such a wonderful dad. It helps that I have great support from my family and friends.

I feel I am struggling with figuring out whether I am going through the normal feelings of sadness in going back to work after a maternity leave versus the feelings of grief where I’m not just a mom but a bereaved one who has trouble leaving my child……period. So combine my return to work, with Emersyn’s birthday and would have been JK year, Isla going off to child care, regular day to day grief and I am having some trouble processing everything at once but I will manage and I know this heaviness will break again. I know this because both of my girls have taught me about the resiliency of the human spirit. So as I begin this new path in my journey as I return to teaching on Tuesday and welcome my eager and excited group of Grade 1 students I will also be saying goodbye to my dear Isla on her first official day of daycare and in my heart I will be waving goodbye to my big girl Emersyn on her first day of JK.


  1. Hey Mel (and jason, and baby Isla!)

    I always have trouble with the first day of school...the milestone's always get ya. Add to that everything else you have going on - it's no wonder you needed to write and get things off your chest!
    I was so glad to get the Emersyn's entourage email bc I lost your address and it's been so long. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that you now have Isla in your life...so very happy for you.
    I think of you guys often. Email or call if you get a chance: I'd love to meet Isla and to catch up

    xo Catherine
    (Carmen's mom)

  2. Hey Catherine! So great to hear from you we think about you guys and sweet Carmen all the time. Would love to catch up and see how you are all doing I miss our chats :) I am learning that the grief journey changes but the pain is just as intense. I guess we just get used to living with heart pain and enjoying the moments that bring us joy xoxoxo Hugs to you guys and let's talk soon! Mel xoxoxoxo