Today I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey, not only my grief journey but the entirety of my journey here on earth.
While Leah’s death and my subsequent journey to find meaning and purpose in my life again is the single most profound event in my life, what I recognize is that the way I do one thing is the way I do everything else.
My life before Leah died prepared me to meet it the way I did, and continue to do so. I used to think that my life was meaningless, that there was not any one thing that I was so good at that I could call it my passion and find unabashed joy in it.
I used to think that I was flawed, that I needed to find out what was wrong with me before I could live a worthy life.
The message that I received shortly after Leah died, the one that gave me my lifeline to continue to try to live, held all of the dashed hopes and dreams of my past life and provided me with exactly what I needed to find the life I was meant to live. The message is this;
Losing Leah is too high a price to pay to not live the life I was meant to live.
Whew, it still brings tears to my eyes more than 19 years after I heard it. I often describe finding this life as an excavation because I had to dig deep. I had to dig through years of doubts, fears, and limiting stories.
It was the death of my daughter, the most devastating experience of my life, that provided an opportunity to allow me to begin to reconnect, to reclaim the life I was meant to live.
I found that the essence of that self has always been present. When I would see a glimmer of her as a child, I would suppress her because I felt she was not welcome. I didn’t think I was smart, I was too much for some, not enough for others, and too quiet for everyone. I wasn’t popular, my hair didn’t do what I wanted it to do, and I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I thought that the person I was supposed to be “should” provide all of these things to me. I walked around miserable most of the time.
The death of my daughter cracked me open in a way I had never experienced before.
Before Leah died, I grieved the death of my grandparents and my mother. I grieved the loss of innocence when I was sexually abused. I grieved the loss of the kind of birth experience I wanted when my first pregnancy resulted in a cesarean after a car accident, however the death of my daughter shredded the fabric of my life. My heart was broken open. My life was shattered in a million little pieces and I had no clue of how to put it back together, or if I even wanted to put it back together.
The day I received my message, I remember asking myself how that would even be possible. I knew though that I would not let my daughter die in vain. I knew that I received an important message, and that Leah’s legacy depended on my response.
I began the long, painful, arduous, messy, chaotic, confusing, raw, tender, intense, and overwhelming journey back to myself. I have talked a lot about that process. Today I want to say that without my own unique grief journey, I would not have reclaimed my soul, the essence of myself that was there all along; the part of myself that makes me exactly who I am. Today I embrace her in every moment. I remember the lessons of my past and take a stand for that little girl who felt less than or not enough.
My grief journey is the Heroine’s Journey.
Through it I reclaimed all the parts of myself that I thought were flaws. Today I stand in my power with so much appreciation for my path, yes, even the messy and painful parts.
Do I want to turn to Leah sitting in my office and give her a big hug and kiss and tell her I love her? You bet I do.
And that is not my life. I can hold both because I trust the life I’ve been given. When I spend time trying to figure that out in my head, I can return to the days of pain and regret. My soul knows better. My soul knows that when I stand in alignment that I receive all the blessings and grace that I need to continue on this path: my path. And that is the only path I can be on.
Your path is the only one you can be on. My heart hurts so much when I hear perspective clients ask me how they can feel better without feeling the pain of their loss. Or how I can help them get back to where they were before. I wish I could do that. What I can do is help you find your own unique path through your grief, one that is valid for you. One that takes into account your past history and makes sense out of it; your own Heroine or Hero’s Journey.
My message is one of transformation and reclaiming. I do not promise to help you get over your loss or find closure. In my experience that is not possible. I will help you get better at feeling all of your feelings, even, and especially, your painful and uncomfortable ones. All of our feelings want to be met as they are, when they are here. Locking up, pushing down, and using distractions may make us feel better for a little while, however that will keep us stuck in a place that doesn’t serve us, or serve the life we are meant to live. I will teach you resources to turn to when you find yourself on the edge of that well of grief so you know what to do for yourself.
I will show you how self-love, gratitude and appreciation, feeling all of your feelings, and creativity, to name a few, can show you a path through the depths of your grief in a way that nothing else has been able to do so up until now.
I can walk with you on what may be the most difficult journey of your life and help you find yourself again.