BY MARCY STONE
Grief makes you understand the power of love. I personally have come to realize this as I continue to deal with this new reality I have been forced to embrace since the loss of my daughter.
When she was killed on December 24, 2016, everything within me felt as if it had died with her. My breath will never be the same as I power through, some days with the feeling of iron weights holding my feet to the earth and other days I float with grace, as if she is cradling me in her arms as her wings glide effortlessly.
Finding the balance between the two types of days requires mindful inhaling and exhaling, whereas before it was something I, in hindsight, took for granted. And quite honestly, it is the love I have for both of my daughters and for myself that reminds me each morning to strive for that balance and to breathe in the love.
When I am asked about my children, I take a deep breath and respond with, “I have two beautiful daughters, one that walks beside me and one that watches over me in heaven.” It’s taken me some time to muster the strength to be able to verbalize that truth and I find that it is always accompanied with a deep breath. It’s not a cleansing breath, but perhaps a way of prolonging expressing this reality of our love being forever entangled in grief. Not because I choose grief — quite the contrary. I choose to lean into the love I feel for my girls.
The grief, while it is a constant reminder of my connection to heaven, is also a reminder that I have a choice. A choice to either stay in grief — or make the call to grief and say I will take on your challenge and I will show grief no mercy.
I always look for the opportunity to become better and grief provides me with a reason to do just that. Grief can become my platform for continuing to become that incredibly unique person I am meant to be.
If I ever did before, grief will no longer allow me to blend in. It has given me a face and it has given me a purpose. Please, do not take this as me being grateful for my grief — I am not! I do, however, understand that this is where my life’s journey has brought me. I can choose to be a crusader warrior and suffer silently, or I can make the call to grief and be a thriving warrior and use this painstaking wisdom to help and guide others.
There is so much to gain by being honest and looking grief in the face, allowing it and all the truths that surround it, to help me redefine who I am becoming.
Being honest with myself is ridiculously important at any stage of life, but I learned that when in grief, it is imperative for survival. Allowing the emotions to flow transparently and truthfully aids in identifying all of what is occurring within.
I am no longer the person I once was and I need to own this and over time get comfortable with the new me in this new reality. Only then am I able to start to navigate — no, feel my way through — what truly matters now, good, bad, or indifferent to me…and to no one else.
So each deep breath will help me make these uncomfortable adjustments. The love I have in my heart and soul for my sweet baby I gave back to heaven helps me find the strength to take the next breath. And my precious child that walks beside me that lovingly looks to me for what to do next, helps me find my balance to do what is necessary in that moment.
Now more than ever I want — no, need — to function at a place of authenticity and as hard as it may be to believe, it seems to be a natural switch that goes off when in grief. Things that mattered within society or among my peers before no longer hold any significance. The only thing that carries any weight is what I am hearing and feeling within.
When in grief, the outside world’s noises and distractions are muffled by the numbness so that all I am truly able to hear is what I need. I believe this to be a universal protection when we are in our most troubling moments.
If not for the love that courses through my every vein for my children, I truly believe I would not have had the will to continue to exist. It is every memory, emotion, story, and picture that I play back over and over again that provides me the soulful fuel to choose life over lifelessness.
There is something that flows so deep within me that will not allow me to give in to defeat or despair. Perhaps it is the need as a mother to demonstrate the balance of being broken with grace and strength so my beautiful daughter that walks beside me can experience my transparent, genuine self as an example for her to emulate as it feels right and true to her own needs. I believe when I became a parent I made an unspoken promise to my children to always be their teacher while equally willing to also be their student.
However, our children are usually much wiser than us…through this process of grief, I am humbled by all that is precious in this world as I watch in awe of my daughter’s grace as she navigates, with so much love, the loss of her little sister. She is an inspiration to me.
In fact, through the course of motherhood, both of my daughters have demonstrated the ability to always unconditionally love with such grace where I sometimes feel I stumble. This always reminds me of that student/teacher role I silently agreed to that they seem to have intrinsically understood all along.
“Life is about the choices you make regardless of what happens to you.”
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt.
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