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Why Mornings Are the Hardest After My Daughter Passed Away


Two months, one week and two days ago, my world ended. I have been doing my best to get up and do something productive every day, but it’s so hard.

Many days all I want to do is lie on the couch or stay in bed and just cry. I know that would be the last thing my daughter, Casey, would want me to do though. I feel like I’m missing a large part of myself. When I look in a mirror, I expect to see parts of me blurred or faded. Everything I do makes me think of Casey. I hear a song and think, “Casey would like that” or see a little girl her age and wish Casey were here to make a new friend.

Anytime something brings me joy, my first thought is that I wish Casey were here to share in the joy, and then I am left feeling this bizarre guilt. How can I feel joy when I am mourning the loss of my child?

There is no handbook on the proper way to grieve. Everyone does it the best way that they can. It’s OK to feel joy. Mourning doesn’t mean that you have to be sad all of the time. I think mourning is a time of reflection, a time to look back on the life of your loved one and appreciate all that he/she was and did.

I think it’s OK to smile when you recall happy memories. I think it’s OK to turn off your brain and go watch a silly movie, maybe even laughing a little, too. I think most of our lost loved ones would want us to find joy again. I know Casey wouldn’t want me crying all the time. She hated when people cried or argued.

I would give anything to be able to talk to Casey right now. I want so badly to know that she is happy, free and not in any pain. I want to know that she wasn’t scared and that her new world is beautiful and peaceful. I want to know that she knows how much she was and always will be loved. I know these things in my heart, but I would give anything to hear it from her.

I talk to Casey a lot. Her ashes are in the living room, and I tell her good morning and kiss her goodnight each day. I tell her goodbye when I leave the house, and I tell her how much I love and miss her many times throughout the day. I know she won’t answer, but I hope that she can hear me.

One of my favorite times of the day with Casey were our mornings together. The night shift would leave at 6:30 a.m., and the day shift wouldn’t get here until 8 a.m. I would get up just after 6 and get a report from the night nurse. Then from 6:30 to 8, it was our time. Some mornings Casey would sleep in, and I would sit in the chair in her room, watching her sleep and waiting for her to wake up. Other mornings if she was up, I would move her to the living room and get her situated on the sofa. She would typically fall back asleep, and I would sit next to her. The morning was peaceful, quiet and our time. I would watch her sleep, drink my coffee and read the news.

Sometimes my husband would join us if he didn’t have to get on a work call or dive into emails. Mornings are the hardest for me now. The house is so empty and quiet. I still sometimes go sit in her room, and if the weather is nice, I go sit in her garden and watch her wind chime blowing in the morning breeze. It’s the closest I can come to the mornings I shared with her.

Everyone tells me it will get easier in time. I know I will find my new routine, a new purpose, and I will get through this. It will never be easy, though. There won’t be a day/moment that I won’t be thinking of her. I try to stay away from the what-ifs and focus on the good memories. One day I will see her again.

Until then, I just have to do my best to make her proud and to share her story so the rest of the world knows how amazing Casey Barnes was.

Follow this journey on Casey Barnes.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images