on grief

whether it's over the loss of a job, the loss of a dream, or the loss of a loved one, grief has a funny way of dictating when it arrives, how long it stays, and when it decides to evaporate its way out of your life.

throughout the course of the last several many months since i started this blog, i have shared far many more moments of joy gleaned in the day-to-day life of our little apple cheeks; shared with you in photo and through the written word how tremendously blessed we feel to be in her life.

and, i have share her individual - and our collective - ups-and-downs, to be sure.

but, i haven't been as frank as perhaps i could be - to the benefit of Apple Cheeks McGillicutty's readers, many of whom have children with special needs - about the grief we, as a family, still feel from time to time about our daughter's pernicious diagnosis.

not about her, mind you. not at all.  she is a blessing, a joy, and has changed our world and lives for the better. she does so each minute of the day.

but i haven't shared much of the grief that i, and my husband in his own and often different ways, have felt as parents of a child who struggles to do that which often comes so much easier for her typical peers; a grief that still sometimes catches me off guard, grabs hold, and weighs on me.

truth is, sometimes we hurt for her, even if she does not. we feel an isolation of her, even if she does not feel isolated. and, we are, at times, deeply saddened by the need for constant therapy sessions and medical interventions to set her on a path toward empowerment and independence down the road.

that i (we) feel these things doesn't diminish the degree to which we celebrate each success. and, if you've read any of my posts, you know we do indeed celebrate with such joy her tremendous achievements - like saying "bottle," signing the word "more," commando-crawling all over the house as fast as lightening, climbing up onto the sofa, or standing tall in her crib on her own.  my list could go on and on, and you'll be reading plenty of those posts in the days and weeks ahead.

today, though, i accompanied my daughter to a Gymboree class where she was to play/interact/engage in physical activities with (in this instance, all typically-developing) children in the range of 10 to 16 months. Our most amazing physical therapist suggested she come along to help identify which activities would best serve emma during the class and what equipment (slides, stairs, balls, etc...) we should use to re-enforce her physical therapy objectives.

it was a beneficial exercise. no question.

but, watching my daughter sit or crawl on her belly in the middle of a mat with children months younger than her walking and runnning around (and sometimes nearly over) her was painful.

at least, it was today.

watching her, engaging her, i celebrated her tremendous strength, perseverence, and want to explore more, do more, see more. she's so inquisitive. but, i also felt a grief creeping up around me and wrapping around me like a familiar blanket.

and, if i'm an honest blogger and mama of an apple cheeks, i need to share that with my readers.

being a parent of a child with special needs is a special journey. it's one filled (as all others) with ups and downs, joys and celebrations, love and laughter.

but, also, as today, the occassional moments of grief.


  1. I love and cherish all three of you and miss you tremendously...hopefully we will get to see you soon!

  2. This blog, like so many of the others, I Cherish for your frankness and honesty. I think I have read them all, or will do so soon, to keep up with Emma's progress and your lives. Please remember that Grandma & I love you all and think of you often. I admire you and Matt for your unending work and love that will make Emma - and you - stronger.
    Grandpa Quick