Today I met with a lady who had a traumatic loss in her past. She is a mother of many and greeted me with a handshake and a smile. As we sat down and got to know each other I saw my past rush before my eyes. Her loss was different than mine but her words related so closely with my soul. She is a mom, she has a job, she has a smile that leads you to believe her world is perfect, she shared openly and stated that many years after her loss she was still looking for help. I have to say that those comments flew me back 14 years and dropped me on my rear end, in the middle of a journey I didn't know how to participate in.
Her words reminded me of how hard I had to fight each and every day just to get out of bed. How I attacked those that tried to help or give me reasons why my 11 month old daughter was in a grave. How the smell of the hospital would make my stomach jump into my throat so I felt like I had to vomit. She reminded me of the days all I could do was sit, cry and hold what was left of my daughter's possessions. The irrational thoughts that happened by the minute, the rage and numbness that could happen simultaneously. And the complete and utter lack of control that I felt in my life after I watched my daughter pass away and in turn get buried in what I considered the cold cold ground.
You never really look at the ground in the same way after you put your loved one there.
I'm reminded today of the tools I lacked when grieving. I thought time would heal me. I thought if I said "I'm fine" enough times that I would eventually feel fine. (Fake it till you make it, right?) I thought if I felt happy ever again, it would be like I no longer cared about my baby girl. It was unforgivable to be happy. I thought so many wildly colored things the list could on for days, all of which never helped me process the loss of her.
Man, I miss her......
Here is what 14 years of searching has taught me. It's ok to be happy! In fact It feels wonderful to be happy. I get to go visit my baby girls grave and be happy. I can talk about the loss of her and it's ok. It doesn't bother me anymore if it makes people uncomfortable, it makes me uncomfortable when people pretend like she didn't exist. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SAY HER NAME. Time will never heal me, it's what I do with the time that makes the difference. I acknowledge my triggers like the hospital and now become keenly aware that certain scents are a trigger from my past and will no longer hold me captive in the present. I have learned that sometimes people say stupid stuff but it's usually with the best of intentions and I get to offer them grace in that moment and pray they never have to walk the path that I have.
Today I saw a fighter blazing through unknown territory and though she feels like every bone is broken, she continues to charge forward because she knows that her path is dark right now but her future holds the light she is looking for. I saw a champion for her kids, showing them it's ok to grieve without a timeline. I saw the courage of a lion in the body of a lamb.
Today I met myself.