I have lost a child. I have held my daughter in my arms and knew there was no life in her. I have seen the worst and lived to tell the tale. I know what it feels like to not want to live. I have had to bury my child, close a casket, design a headstone, explain to my subsequent children about their sister. I have to field questions daily about her and how she died and why she died. I hear from my children every single day that they wish their sister was here. Yes, my child died.
This is a huge part of who I am, but it is not who I am. In the last six years I have had much time for learning, development and growth. I have had plenty of opportunities wherein I was tested, tried and strengthened. For all of the opportunities I took advantage of, there were countless more that I didn’t.
You see, I have been coasting. For six years I have said, “I can’t do that, it’s too much, my baby died”. I haven’t been the best example of faith. I haven’t lived up to a lot of the expectations I have for myself. I haven’t lived up to the expectations that I feel God has for me. Lucky for me, He is forgiving and knows that I have done what I could.
And I have. I have done what I could. I have had three children, at home. I have moved five times. I have had several different Church assignments. I have made friends, comforted those who have needed it. I have taken dinners to families with a new baby, helped serve food at funerals, volunteered in various community capacities. I have tried to be a voice of understanding and comfort to those who have had to do the unthinkable, bury their child.
So, in the last six years, I have done a lot. I have done all that I can. There have been many challenges I have taken on and realized that this is not the time for me to do this. One example is becoming a La Leche League leader. I really wanted to do this. When Emma died, I was working on becoming a Childbirth Educator and Doula. So, I felt that being a LLL leader would fit in with that. I have found however that I am much more easily distracted now than I was then. I just couldn’t fit one more thing in. I have learned to say “no”. This is big for me because I, like most of the women in my family, tended to be a people pleaser. When Emma died, that stopped. I didn’t have the energy to do it, and frankly, I am glad I don’t do it anymore. I do what is best for me and my family, period.
So, while I haven’t accomplished all I have set out to do, I have done a lot.
However, as I said before, I have been coasting. I have been emotionally and spiritually been coasting. I have acted as if I deserve a break because of what happened. And frankly, for a while, I did. But now it is time to step up my game.
Things have been falling apart at my house. My children are not happy, I am not happy much of the time. There is too much anger and not enough kindness. Too much yelling and not enough laughing. Too many harsh words and not enough I love you’s. Too many tears and not enough hugs. I know why this is. I know what I need to do. And I am ready to do it. I am ready to stop coasting. I am ready to step it up and become the Woman I want to be.
I am so grateful for the time I had to coast, to mend (because we never heal), to meditate, to learn, to grow, to just be. And now it is time. It is time for change. Time for me to concentrate on my family that is here on Earth, not the part that is in Heaven.
Does this mean I stop thinking about Emma and stop missing her? Absolutely not. Does this mean the questions from my children about her stop? No way. What this means is this; there is a huge hole in my heart, a huge part of me that is missing and always will be. I am not going to use it as an excuse to myself anymore. I am choosing to not be angry with God anymore. I am choosing to forgive Him and forgive myself for her death. I am choosing to live my life and give her sisters and brother the best life I can. I am choosing to be the Mom I wanted to be when I was pregnant 7 years ago. I am choosing to be the wife I wanted to be when I was married almost 8 years ago.
It’s been six years and I am ready for this.