Every Loss Matters

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to hear the words that a child had died and not be propelled back to that fall day in October 2006. Every time a child dies and a parent finds themselves burying their child, I slide back just a little. It never feels right nor should it.

Recently I learned of the passing of childhood friend’s daughter and my heart immediately broke for her. I now know instinctively what that pain feels like. The numbness that follows where you can actually make it through the day. Then shit hits the fan about a week later and you find yourself on your knees more than you are upright.

My heart breaks easier these days. Perhaps that is because it never truly healed from such a devastating loss like a child. And your only child. Profoundly difficult. Not sure how any of us make it through. But we do. We pick ourselves up and dust off the pain and look around to see if we are still in the present. Then the real pain begins.

Each day after the passing of Brittany I felt miserable, lost and could barely eat. I lost so much weight, which I didn’t have any weight to lose. Grief hung around in my throat like a lump that would never go away. Persistently reminding me of my grief which just stayed below the surface. Always waiting to be released in a torment of tears and screams.

Damn that was a tough time. And every time I see or hear a parent beginning this journey, I feel sick. Sick like an awful feeling in my gut that knows what they are about to embark on and I feel so heartsick. It brings not only my own pain, but that of many others. No one really knows any better the ache of child loss than a mother who has born a child and lost them so very early. No one.

Now as I sit here in reflection and understand just how I have made it all these years. It’s been almost nine years. It’s because my faith is in a force much bigger than me. When I focus on me, I lose, but when I focus on God, I feel a strength that is more powerful than any drug or alcohol. It is called Grace. Grace is a precious gift God gives when we are open to receive it. God’s Grace poured over me in those early days, even when I cried, shook my fist and yelled at God because I was so mad. I did not understand what I could have ever done to deserve such a loss. But God in his graceful way, taught me very quickly that I was here on this earth for a higher purpose. Then the lessons began. I had to be a good student. And I ate it all up. I was starving for relief.

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day

A New Normal

So often I have read about this idea of a “new normal” that one begins to experience after a loss such as mine. I do wonder who may have come up with that label. I don’t believe the word normal belongs in a sentence that would describe one’s life after loss. Normal doesn’t reflect what is really going on with one’s life at this stage. I do think that you can move through into a new stage of your life. One that can be happy. One that can be fulfilling and rewarding. But normal – I don’t think so. 

Who defines what is normal? 

I know I don’t, probably never have. I can say that with all that has happened to me over these past couple of years, I know that normal is far from what I have experienced. I also know that what I have experienced and what I am continuing to experience is God’s love and grace sufficient to exist in a life that has continued to remain somewhat meaningless to me. Please know that this is not a bad thing, I just see this life as a pathway to the next. I am working hard to do what I need to do to fufill my purpose for where I am right now. But where I am right now maybe not where I will be tomorrow. Remembering that I only have control over right now. Right now, I choose to write about how I feel in hopes that someone else can identify with those feelings and know that they are not alone.

Life does get better.

It does get less painful. And, at times, can be rewarding. I find that in my job, I find purpose. It is when I am alone in my home or alone in my own thoughts that I begin to think about the future and where I see myself  in it. Please know that normal will never be a part of anyone’s life when they have lost a child. Don’t assume that becoming normal again will ever be an option. So much of what I have read from many different parents echoes the same – “life will never be normal” – it just becomes different. I have found that there are so many days that life can be rewarding and fulfilling. I love what I do for a living. It gives me such gratification to know I am helping to shape nurses to be health advocates for those who need one. But I also have an emptiness that resides in my heart and it is unbearable some days. But I don’t let you see it. It’s too painful and I know if you really saw it – you might cry. It’s a place I try not to visit very often. 

As Mother’s Day approaches I feel that uneasiness start to well up inside me. It’s like hearing the rushing water of a white water falls way off in the distance. You find yourself having to stop and listen very carefully to hear it. As it is with grief. It’s calling my name again as it does every October. It’s quite unimaginable that I have had to endure this – seems like a lifetime ago. Yet sometimes it feels like yesterday. As I wonder about my life aimlessly looking for what I am missing – I understand it is her smile, her crazy quirky self and the biggest heart I’ve ever known! 

God has brought me this far.

I know He will continue to keep me in the palm of His hand until it is my turn to return to Him. I have a great deal of faith and a small amount of will. So life is out of balance for me and living a “normal” life just doesn’t seem appropriate. But a new life, one filled with hope for an opportunity to help others is what I know I am meant to do – for now. 

 until next time,

M