After Harper went to Heaven, I couldn’t get this thought out of my head… “I don’t want this life.” This is just not how I ever envisioned my life – living without one of my children. Is it even possible to survive this? Is my life ruined? I am so afraid I will never recover. What if I can’t handle this pain? What if I won’t be a good mother to Michael because I am so wrapped up in my grief? I just don’t want this life. I want the life with my daughter in my arms. That’s the life I want. I want to kiss her and hug her all day, everyday. I don’t want the life of a grieving mother.
There are so many things I know to be true now, 3+ years later, that I had NO idea then. Firstly, I DO want this life, and trust me, you do too. I didn’t really mean I don’t want THIS life, what I meant was, I was afraid of what was to come because I had never experienced any of these feelings before. There are a few things that I did that were instrumental in my healing that made me embrace the life I was given. The very first thing I did was take that sentence out of my vocabulary. It wasn’t helpful to say that to myself, so I stopped and replaced that with, what am I going to do with this life that I was given?
I decided to focus on the love I have from my hubby, and my son. It wasn’t my love for them that saved me although that love is so deep. It was actually their love for me. The depths of their love astounded me when I was at my worst, and I realized, they actually need me to recover, so I was determined to regain a new normal. I was willing to do anything for them after the love they showed me.
I was terrified I wouldn’t have more children, that I wouldn’t be strong enough. So, I became relentless in my belief about having more children. I KNEW I was going to have more. I had no idea how, but that wasn’t my concern. And then Josie was born. I think I literally dreamed her into life. No IVF, no infertility treatments, she just came to us. Being pregnant with her was the hardest thing I have ever endured – I was terrified, but had I not stuck with it I wouldn’t have the amazing joy she brings to my life. She has literally restored my faith in the world. I always had the notion I would have 3 here on earth and the 4th baby would be a “surprise.” Low and behold, I am 33 weeks pregnant with my surprise, and boy was this baby a surprise. The best surprise we have EVER had! The moral of the story here is, your beliefs are incredibly powerful. If you can feel them in your bones, then they will come true. Be relentless about your dreams.
I accepted my daughter in my life the only way I could have her – spiritually. I stopped fighting the fact that she wasn’t here physically and took her however I could get her. Harper is very present in our life, and in our family. Michael was just talking about her today on the way to school. It’s a norm for us to see her signs and bring her up in conversation. See, at first I thought that when she died, that was the end of our relationship. I was so wrong; I just didn’t know the bond between a mother and child can transcend Heaven and Earth. Because I am so open to her signs, her love, and her endless spiritual presence in our life, she is not gone, she is just in a different realm. This has allowed me to move forward and gain so much strength from her. This realization was pivotal in my healing.
I found an exceptional grief therapist. You must have one. I am a trained therapist with a masters in counseling psychology so the very first thing I did was get myself in therapy. I knew it could only help. The first therapist I found was not “the one” but it led me to my grief therapist. I would have gone to her every single day if I could have, but you do need time between sessions to let the work sink in. Slowly, there was light in the darkness, and then eventually there was more light then there was darkness. She helped me process my grief, and helped me see things in a different way then I could have with the dark cloud over my head. I can’t recommend therapy enough.
Grief is a rollercoaster and it takes much longer than any of us want it to take to see light. These were some of the things that really changed the game for me and helped me restore my life, which is my hope for each of you who are on a similar journey. We have a choice in how we want to honor our children. Your strength and perseverance is something you can choose everyday to show your angel how much you love them.