One of the gifts of my grief journey was realizing that grief is a lifelong journey.
That idea may have been peripheral before Leah died, yet as I navigated the months and years after she left us, I became much more aware of how grief affects our everyday lives.
Before Leah died, I had experienced the grief of other loved ones passing, my grandparents, my parents, aunts and uncles; yet it was my daughter’s death that cracked me open. In order to make sense of my life after Leah died, I had to come to terms with grief in all forms as it showed up in my life. It seemed as if the collective grief of a lifetime saw an opportunity to be seen through the fracture that was opened in my life as I came to terms with what it meant to create a meaningful life in the midst of the devastation I was feeling.
I saw that all the experiences in my life that carried grief;
- The times I didn’t get chosen for a team in school,
- Not becoming a ballerina,
- That job that I didn’t get that I thought would hold the answer to my future,
- My loss of innocence after the sexual abuse I suffered as a child,
- The loss of a natural childbirth with my first pregnancy,
- The school I didn’t get to go to.
All the of my life’s lost dreams lined up for attention.
I had a choice to make. I could recognize that I now had an opportunity, a gift really, to meet these places that needed healing, or I could push them away and lock them up in the hopes of never having to experience the feelings that were clamoring for my attention.
The second choice would have been the easier road. I told my self that many times as I traveled the first path, the one that brought me face to face with everything that allowed me to climb out of the well of grief into the light. It hasn’t been an easy path, it has been, and continues to be, the most fulfilling experience of my life.
I’ve often been told that I am courageous for facing my grief the way I do.
I used to think that it wasn’t courage at all, that it was the only way I could make sense out of what seemed senseless, and I thought that grieving for my daughter would keep my connection to her strong.
My grief journey did all of that and more, in ways I could not have fathomed all those years ago. I now know that grief is a sacred journey. One that reveals so many gifts, what I call blessings and grace, that teach us about living a life worth living.
It is an alchemical journey that transforms.
It has allowed me to hold sorrow and joy at the same time. It continues to call me into my best life.