I wasn’t a hermit, exactly, when Julianna was here, but I came close.
Work, grocery and toy acquisition took me out of the house almost every day, but the outside world felt distant, almost irrelevant. Everything real and important was contained within the walls of our home. We were cocooned in a soft, magical space where the wit matched the décor (sparkling). There were every-colored ponies, Julianna tigers and vaccines delivered with soft needles.
Cruelty existed only in the form of the disease that necessitated our cloister. It spun its web and counted down, but on every day except for her last, we were safe in our lovely cocoon. There was nowhere else I wanted to be.
When Julianna died, it – everything – was ripped open. The world hadn’t ended like I felt it ought, and I was in it again.
It was a shock. On the first airplane ride after she died, I heard a pair of passengers dismiss our flight attendant as “old” and “rough looking.” Apparently, it was funny.
“Really?” I thought. “Is this what it’s like out here?”
And I missed it even more, the world we had created, the one that followed the rules of a girl whose love flowed out of her heart, onto her shoulders and into the dozens of kisses she blew to me every day. How would I survive in this other world?
The answers didn’t come all at once. I put a bright pink streak in my hair — because she marked me. I had a necklace made, a snowflake with a little pink diamond center, and asked for a chain strong enough to last the rest of my life. Hair dye and bespoke jewelry were my armor against a harsh, bewildering world. Unconventional, perhaps, but I knew she would approve.
Finding a new life after monstrous loss has been a dance of stepping forward (to what?) and retreating, humbled and shattered. Compartmentalization can pass for courage, but it’s like treading water: it buys time but takes you nowhere. And you can’t do it forever.
Peace and purpose in a post-Julianna world have been hard-won, first coming in flashes, then in fleeting bits turned into stretches of time. I do best when I carry her with me and look for her everywhere. Yes, it keeps me closer to the pain, but I can’t have it both ways.
She’s gone – my God, she’s really gone…but she was glorious, and she was mine. How lucky was I?
Life outside the cocoon is still bewildering. She’s here, though. I just have to keep following her lead.
One more thing….
T-shirts like these are another piece of my armor.
I hadn’t planned on doing another set of shirts, but people keep asking — even if they don’t know the story behind it, they respond to the message.
8 thoughts on “Armor (and t-shirts)”
I have a grey one and wear it with such pride. Always remembering the message I am carrying. I look forward to having one with a little more color 🙂 What a dear sweet daughter you share with the world. I happen to live close and saw your story years ago.
“Yes, it keeps me closer to the pain, but I can’t have it both ways.”
Love you, friend. We will get our Juliana Yuri Snow shirts.
I love my shirt as well! 💜💖💞 I may get the light pink one also. 💗💖💞 I love the pictures you posted. 💗💜🙏
Where can we order the shirts
pls click on the pink hyperlink. (it wasn’t that obvious, so I changed the color – sorry for the confusion!)
Oh joy! Ive missed the tee shirts every time until now. I will be ordering some for Christmas presents and ensure the recipients know of your sweet child upon receipt.
Bless you all. Love will ALWAYS be a superpower.
PLEASE BRING BACK THE LOVE IS A SUPERPOWER T-SHIRTS……..I NEED TO RESTOCK AND BUY GIFTS FOR PEOPLE & SPREAD THE LOVE
for some reason I didn’t get this post until later and I missed out….I have worn out my original
Michelle, I think of you guys every day. We read “Julianna’s Adventures” regularly. Almost nightly.
Julianna was such a neat kid — I can’t imagine your loss (and I have a very hard time believing she passed over three years ago!). Just getting out of bed every day makes you ALL brave as far as I’m concerned.
If you ever want to go grab lunch or lemonade or chocolate chip cookies that weren’t made quite right (orange chips?!?), please give me a shout-out.