New Grief Brings Up Old Grief
I carry around the scars on my heart and soul from the loss of my mom and sister as a young teenager. These scars will forever shape the person I am. Some of these scars make me slightly neurotic with fear of losing other people I love; others make me live a healthy lifestyle as I want to enjoy every day to the fullest. But, I would rather have these scars and acknowledge their existence, because to not would mean I am not living my true life. I am proud of these scars. They make me, me.
For me, that meant that I would continue to live a healthy and happy life, while always remembering them. I did not get stuck in a state of depression, or turn into a ranging alcoholic in a state of despair. Instead, I honor and cherish their memories, by living a full and happy life and talking about them often.
So, why is it that, new grief brings up old grief? When you’ve battled one storm and made it though, the next storm just brings up all the memories and heart ache of the first one?
Now, having lost 4 babies, I seem to be thinking of my mom and sister all the time. It’s been 17 years, and it feels likes it has been more like 170 years. I am longing for the loving hug that only a mother can give. I would love the support and understanding that moms have a way of giving.
I know that my mom and sister wouldn’t make this situation any better, yet I’m convinced they would be more supportive than my dad and brother.
I seem to be comparing situations – how the car accident was easier than RPL. I never thought that losing my mom and sister in a car accident would be considered an easier struggle on the spectrum of tragedies that I would have to face. In fact, some days I feel guilty for feeling this way. As if this feeling somehow diminishes their deaths. I kinda figured that I had faced the absolute worst thing that any person could and so from then on out, life might not be easy, but I should be able to weather any other storm a bit better. Funny just how wrong I was. But, the car accident was an irreversible moment in time, whereas our decision to have children is not a single moment. There were no life altering decisions to be made. This made grieving easier and moving on an immediate inevitable reality.
But, there is one thing these situations have in common – I do not want to live a life defined by loss. I never wanted to be defined by the car accident. So much so that as soon as high school was done, I left my small home town never to return for more than 3 consecutive nights to see my parents and family. I need a life that allowed me to be me. And, now, unless I tell people, they have no idea. I live a normal, healthy life. This doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten, that I hid from the events of that day, or it’s not part of who I am. It most definitely part of my core, but it’s not the first thing people know about me and therefore not how I define myself. And yet, here I am now, again, not wanting to live a life defined by RPL and loss. Regardless of our outcome, I will again carry these scars with me. I will cherish and honor the memories and experience. These scars will continue to shape me, but they will not define me.
I believe I chose my lives definition through my actions. I will weather this storm, just as I did the first one. I will not become stuck in a state of despair. I will deal with and accept the final outcome. I will make the most of the outcome by living my life to the fullest, whenever we decide that this road has come to an end for us, whatever that looks like.