I was 23 when Aria died. You were probably a different age, but you probably wonder the same thing as me. Is this all my life is going to consist of? Is my life really over? How in the world do I go on without my child?
I know deeply all those questions, as I asked myself them many, many times. I was kind of in shock. I felt so young to already be burying my child. I was too little to have a child, and know the pain of burying that child as well. It felt so unfair! I think any age is too young to bury a child- it’s not the natural order of things. We expect to die before our children.
As I’ve pondered grief, and as I was faced head on with these questions, I KNEW that I didn’t want this to be all my life was. I knew deep down that I had to figure out a way to learn to live with this, because I was only 23. What a long and miserable life I had ahead of me if I didn’t!
I asked other grieving mothers how I can get through this, I just wanted to go to sleep and wake up on the other side. Their answer was the same, a moment at a time, and there is no running from grief. We can try to hide from it, we can busy ourselves from it, we can numb ourselves from it, but it will catch up with us at some point in our lives. If we don’t deal with it now, we will sometime later in our life, because grief is very patient and it will wait for us.
So, I knew that I needed to face my grief head on and deal with it right now. This is also my personality- so it might be different for you because you have a different personality. But I knew, that I didn’t want to push my pain away, because I felt that embracing my pain and allowing it to be, would get me that much closer to learning to live with it.
Quite honestly, my first year after losing my daughter was incredibly intense, and painful. I spent my LIFE in therapy. I went twice a week for many months, where we did an intensive therapy that dove deep into my trauma and the shock, and all the emotions that came up in my body. I learned SO much in those sessions.
I also learned that sometimes I needed a break from my pain. There were so many days of deep sadness and pain, that I started to feel like I was drowning in the depression and sadness that was my life. When I found those moments of joy, I embraced them, I rejoiced that I had a little bit of light shine into my darkness. Oh how few those moments were, but they were life giving to me. They gave me the strength to keep going through yet another spell of darkness and pain.
If I can offer one thing to you my friend, is this. You are driver seat of your life- a life that suddenly spiraled out of control. A life that is suddenly broken and shattered. You get to decide what you want to do. ONLY YOU.
Do you want to have joy again someday? Do you want to learn how to live with your loss? It may seem impossible right now, but I promise it is. And you WILL find your own way if you want. You CAN learn how to live carrying the memories and the love for your child in your heart.
Yes, there are still times I’m sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, that I have to go to the cemetery to visit my daughter. That I have to wonder what it would be like to have a 4 year old running around. That I have to wonder what Aria would be like today? All these questions I still think and ponder every day.
I tell you that it’s possible for this to change, because I wanted someone to tell me. Even if it felt impossible for me, I wanted to know that I was possible to live a full life, EVEN after losing a child. I wanted to know that there was something I could find joy in eventually, and that maybe someday, laughter would come naturally again. I didn’t know if I would believe it, or understand it back then, but I so badly wanted to hear that I was going to be okay.
So I tell this to you now. It’s possible. It’s possible to learn to live with this. Your life is not over. You are grieving- and that is a part of your life now. When we can learn to carry our grief along with everything else in our life, a beautiful life is still possible.
I know you might not believe me, and that’s okay. But I pray someday you will understand what I’m saying. It is not the same. It will never be the same. But it’s a different kind of joy, and a different level of beauty that is always mixed with grief. As always, I want to say that there is no timeline, there is no pressure to be somewhere you are not. We all grieve in our own time.
I want to invite you to join me in my totally free online workshop called “3 myths of grief” Where I will dive into these 3 myths that are widely believed but are far from true. I will also talk about how we as grieving mothers can find support. I would love if you can join me! You can GO HERE to save your spot!