My, how time flies ... when you're living!
© Betty Sue Eaton
Where did the time go?

How did I get here? Only yesterday, or so it seems, I was so devastated by the loss of my
11-year old Paula that I couldn't believe that I could get through just another day. Now, here it
is almost a year later, and I'm living . . . still!

Only two weeks after her death, we went to visit my dad for Thanksgiving in Ruidoso, New
Mexico, and all the way there I kept feeling as though we had forgotten something. I couldn't
put a name to the anxious feeling I had all the time we were there, but something was not
right. Then the heart-crushing reality hit me: Paula was missing and never again would things
ever be complete for me.

Can you take baby steps?

I began working as a Kelly Girl temporary employee six months after Paula's death, and
gradually, I began to focus on the duties to which I was assigned:  Mr. Jacoby gets his mail
first!  Annetta likes apricot Danish. Let Mr. Aspell HAND you the mail;
do not touch it unless he does!  And so on until I began to look forward to facing the
challenges with confidence, not as a means of escape from my bottomless grief.

Through many crises, both inside and outside my diminished family, I met each one and got
past them ~ not with grace each time, I must admit, but I DID get past them and slowly the
years rolled by. And I was STILL alive. No, more than that, I was LIVING!

How do you get past it?

How does one get past the death of a loved one?  By just doing it!   You get up, go to work ~
either in or out of the public. Do your job, eat, sleep, get up, go to work . . . well, you know
what I mean. That doesn't mean that each year on September 19, or November 14, I do not
completely fall apart in an ocean of tears. Those are the dates of Paula's birth and death.
They are etched on my heart.

For the first three years after her accident, I had to take a day off from work and travel the
sixty miles to where we had buried her. Once at her grave, I would collapse with great
heaving sobs as I called out to God to help me "get by this and heal my broken heart". And
each of the three years, I felt Paula's closeness as I lay across her little angel engraved
headstone.  When the flood of grief had passed, I drove back to my job and just did it.

When did things change?

On the fourth year, I reluctantly took my sojourn back to the cemetery, but this time it was
different: She was not there! There was only a cold marble stone with the statistics engraved
below the kneeling angel. Somehow, she had been transferred to my everyday
consciousness and I no longer needed to drive to the place where her mortal body lay to
make contact with my youngest, for she had long since been at home with the Lord in His
home. Now I realized that all I had to do to be close to her was go to the Lord!

Those events occured in 1964 - 1967 and to this day, I feel no urgency to ever return to the
cemetery where we placed her lifeless body that day ~ November 14, 1964.  And since that
day, I have never forgotten that all I need to do to be close to her again is to get on my knees
and visit her  through God in Heaven.

Time flies when you're living!


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