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Losing Linnea: Mourning is Weird

September 15, 2012

I am mourning for Linnea. I am mourning for her family. Mourning is a weird place to be.

Last Friday, when I found out she was gone. I wanted to fall apart and just cry, and I did for a little while but then I had to push down the tears and get back to mothering because my kids needed their mommy and I had to be as whole as I could for them. I took them to the pool Friday afternoon and calmly told my best friend Becca all that I knew about Linnea and I didn’t cry. It felt weird to hear myself say such painful things without tears. I was as calm as if I was telling her the plot of some news story that I just read.

Is that what detached sounds like?

I am not detached but I can sound like it when I need to.

Saturday I called my sister over to help with the kids so I could go hide in the back room and shut down. I didn’t cry too much but I didn’t want to do a thing. I stayed in my pajamas most of the day and I was so tired. Being sad is exhausting. My heart is heavy and it physically hurts to carry it.

Sunday I was fine until worship started at church and then I started crying and I wanted to cry really hard. I wanted to run out and cry and have people notice that I was in pain and come pray for me. I wanted to fall apart. But I held it together. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Sometimes we all just need to fall apart and let people know that we need help.

Then the week was busy with Joshua’s 1st day of classes in his home school program and mothering and working. I cried for Linnea on Tuesday and then shoved it back down Wednesday and Thursday because my life just keeps moving and I can’t stop mothering and working so I have to keep functioning and sometimes shoving down the tears is necessary to functioning. When they start, I might not be able to stop them.

Yesterday, Friday was the weirdest day of the week because I was so happy. We were at the beach. The weather was gorgeous. I didn’t feel sad or heavy. I just built forts with my kids and surfed. And then, I saw Jay, who is pretty much family with the Lomaxes, talking with my husband Sean and we all talked about Linnea and what had happened and nobody cried. One of my new friends overheard us and asked what we were talking about and we told her. She understood because she had lost her brother to suicide. This whole conversation was just so awful and sad. We should have all been in tears, right? But within the next few sentences, someone said something funny about Linnea’s cousins, Jon and Mandy, and I started laughing. I laughed because in the tragedy of it all, there are memories of laughter and joy and times with Jon and Mandy are always filled with raucous laughter. But I laughed harder than I should have, I think. My friend had just told me that her brother died and I was laughing. Linnea is gone. How can I laugh? And why does laughing relieve the pressure and burden on my heart just like crying?

Today is completely different from yesterday. Today, I want to cry, not laugh. And so I am.

I keep telling others that it is ok to have good days and bad. It is fine to want to laugh all day one day and cry all day the other, but this does not make grieving feel any less strange to me. This may all be normal and fine and part of the process, but this process is painful and beautiful at the same time.

What makes it beautiful?

People’s hearts are so exposed in grief. That is what hurts so much. My heart feels very unprotected and that is very scary and painful, but there is also a lot of beauty in having your heart split wide open and being with others whose hearts are also exposed. Crying together; laughing together; having the pain and joy of your hearts spill out and mix with the pain and joy in your friend’s heart bonds you in new and wonderful ways.

Friends of mine who didn’t even know Linnea have cried with me. I barely even knew Linnea and she has broken my heart.

Losing Linnea is a terrible, terrible thing, but somehow God is still making something beautiful grow from this all. He is bringing people together and bonding all of us that loved her and her family in a way that only the deepest sadness can.

This is the Linnea Borealis. Linnea is named for this flower which is common in her mother’s homeland of Sweden. This flower is beautiful and delicate and it hangs its head down in mourning for Linnea. This flower is the most beautiful depiction I can find of how mourning Linnea feels: beautifully sad.

We miss you Linnea.


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  1. Melissa Whitten permalink

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I am mourning this loss too. I didn’t know her at all, but you have shared her light and her life with me and I have been touched by it. I pray that good things come out of this tragedy. Love you.

    • Thank you Missy. Your prayers and love mean so much to me. Good things WILL come out of this all. I know our God is good.

  2. Thank you Amy, for putting words to your experience of grief. It helps to read this. I am learning about the “fellowship of suffering”. Some dear friends were with me when my heart split open, and their arms around me kept me from drowning. Their prayers focused my heart on the Lord and gave me words when I couldn’t speak. They didn’t know Linnea, but they shared my grief. You are right about the beauty…He gives beauty from ashes…

    • Thank you Claire. Something like this brings out the best in human connection and love. I am really glad that you had friends nearby to put their arms around you. I love you.

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