When you experience the loss of a child, it’s hard to get in the mindset of finding a “light” amidst all of the darkness. When you do however, it gives you strength and courage to put one foot in front of the other and keep living your life. Being reflective means you can find some sort of “lesson” from your experience; and from these lessons will come solace and in ways, acceptance. In order to even get into that kind of headspace however, you really have to reflect on all aspects of your situation. It is hard to do. Especially when you may feel as if you’ve come to terms with your loss. For me, my strength has come from finding those moments of light, and trusting in the lessons I feel as though they’ve taught me.
Respect for the fragility of life
Often times we get so consumed in our worlds with work, commitments, events, things, etc. Our physical world is comprised of complicated roads, impressive and intricate architecture, and lights for miles and miles.
Oftentimes my family likes to venture outside for a hike or to take a drive in the countryside and mountains. It is during these moments that it becomes clear how simple and beautiful the natural world can be. The insanely beautiful patterns on a butterfly, the clarity of the water, the habits of animals, and the majesty of ancient trees.
Translating this thought to loss, is in a similar vein. You become pregnant, take bump photos, announce your baby’s gender, set up your nursery. You plan ahead now having knowledge of an additional family member who will soon be running around your house. It is beyond easy to instantly feel that this new person will fill a gap in your family you never knew you had. All of this while your “regular” life keeps on spinning forward. When that gets taken from you so suddenly, you realize how fleeting moments in life can be and how truly important cherishing them every single day instead of pushing them to the way side. I’m not saying people do this intentionally. All I am saying is that we all get so consumed in our lives, that it is only human nature to do so. Learn from my experience (or your own) and appreciate the great and even small things in life.
Similar with above, a loss of this magnitude brings about a sense of humility to those experiencing it. The experience quickly sets you back and reminds you how despite all of the advances of the modern day world, nature will always take its course. It can wipe away the strongest things in a brief amount of time. It can take back what it has given without notice. It is a truly powerful force, and can remind you of how small we really are.
I am not preaching about one religion vs another. What I mean is that loss sometimes triggers a readmission of faith. At the moment of loss, your faith is truly tested. A flood gate opens with thoughts of “Why me?” “Why now?” “What did I do wrong in my life?” Your brain and your heart are trying to make sense of it all, and the first place to put your anger may be your beliefs. Over time and with reflection however, take away the hurt and anger and replace it with trust. Trust that God (or whomever you believe in) wouldn’t put you through something you couldn’t handle. He wouldn’t ask you to make such a sacrifice if he didn’t have a reason for it. The hard part about these lessons is that that “reason” may never be made clear to you; but again, you have to put faith into there being one.
Reaffirmation of love
I have people in my life who have come and gone. I have people who have resurfaced and stayed. We are blessed with an amazing supportive family, and I am forever grateful for them. Experiencing loss is difficult. It is extremely private. For me, as I’ve mentioned before, writing is a bit therapeutic. If sharing my experiences can help someone else, then I feel as though I’m taking negative energy and returning it to the universe in a positive form – whether on a small or large scale. Sharing in snippets of my experience or thoughts on loss, have opened a plethora of channels for me. It has brought people back into my life who can relate to my experience. It has allowed me to feel as though I am not alone. It has reaffirmed my love and appreciation for friends and family.
Surviving such a tragedy really illustrates how strong one can be. For me, I always knew I had strong examples in my life. I always aspired to be just like them, never really putting that sense of strength to the test. It wasn’t until my own experience that I truly felt that strength was tried. Thankfully, my experience has not only strengthened my inner self, but also in my relationships with others. This strength has motivated me to do more and to raise awareness; and most importantly not defined me.
It is because of these lessons of respect, humility, faith, love, and strength that I have a slow, but growing, acceptance of our loss. Sometimes I get so angry that I was put in this position. So emotional that this happened to me and my family. It is then that I remind myself that while I may of had to endure more than others for reasons unclear, I have gained an angel in heaven who taught me some of the most valued lessons in life – and for that I am thankful.