Yesterday I went to visit a new friend. She was a mutual friend of one of my life-line's through losing Harlynn. She's not from here, but her daughter came up against some serious health issues and was life-flighted to our local hospital recently. I went to pray. I went to give hugs. I went to be there. The funny thing is, even though I went to offer my support, I was the one who left encouraged. I was the one who felt supported. (Does that mean I suck at encouraging? I'm not sure...)
In our discussion, which ranged from tears to laughter and everything in between, I was reminded of those first moments, those first days, in sorting through my grief when we lost Harlynn. I was reminded of how I felt like I was walking around as a gashed, gaping, bleeding heart. No one wanted my stains on their hands. I felt isolated. I felt shunned. I holed myself up. "That's the woman whose baby died." It was if their thoughts were audible to me. I was so tired of feeling that way. I built a wall around my world. The difference, though, was when I "hit the wall" it wasn't because I had nowhere to go - it was because it was the only thing in my life I felt could take my beatings.
So many times I wanted to call someone and say, "Come sit with me while I cry." or call them and say, "I'm just going to yell, cry, and then hang up." Though I wanted to do that, I never followed through. I thought, "Who would take that call?" or "By the time they came over, I'd be over my emotional slump and probably not want anyone here anymore after all." It was such a lonely, longing place. I know there were several friends who always offered, "Just call and cry!" and I smiled and said "Okay" but on the inside I was thinking, "Who wants to be burdened by those calls?" I knew no one would know what to do or say, and I also knew even if I said "I don't need you to do or say anything." they would still try. Then I would be annoyed or grieved more than I already was. Grief and mourning is such a tricky place. Such a finite line, yet vast valley to navigate. So I would hit the wall.
As I sat there visiting yesterday, we talked about our shared and similar experiences. We talked about the good intentions of others. We talked about the blessings that were above and beyond what we ever anticipated. We talked about favorite tv shows. We talked about life. We talked about nothing and about everything.
It made me want to talk to you - the one reading this who may have been sent my link because you lost your baby. Don't compare your journey right now, to where I am in mine. If you've just said goodbye to your precious child, don't read my recent writings and think "She has so much faith. She's so much better able to handle this than I am." Go back to my beginning. Read along with me from there. Don't let these sentences today deter you from where you are right now. It's been 18 months for me - and while I still struggle daily with the fact my daughter is gone - I'm looking through a different pair of lenses than what I had 18 months ago. Don't read my words and think this is where you need to be, or what you need to feel, or how you need to cope. Your mind and your heart will guide you to the exact right place, through the exact right process, as you experience it. Go ahead and hit your wall.
I remember so many people sent me links and stories and articles and all I could think was "There is no way I can be as 'together' as this parent." At that point in my grief, I couldn't. I still can't hold a candle to most of them, but I'm in a completely different spot from where I was in April of last year. Or even in December of last year.
It doesn't get better. It does get different. Your perception, your perspective - it will change as each new day dawns. Don't be discouraged with your discouragement. Don't be put off by the words or appearances of others in the journey. You'll get to where you need to be, in the time you need to take. Go ahead and hit your wall.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about or speak the name of my baby girl. My Harlynn. I still cry, I still choke up, I still ache. But I'm not still in the same frame-of-heart as I was.
There will come a day when you reach a point, look back, and think, "Wow. I made it through that. Even that." And you'll sit with a new friend. You'll chat, you'll cry, you'll laugh, and you'll hug and know no matter what - your life and your journey haven't been for naught. You will find blessings in the billows. You will find strength in the storms. You will find answers in the asking. But it doesn't have to be today. Pace yourself. Allow yourself to feel everything you need to feel in all the time you need to take. Go ahead and hit your wall.
There will come a day when you can breathe again. Let that day come to you. Don't rush to make it happen.
And if you need to call me just to cry, yell, and hang up - - I'll answer. I'll let you. I'll understand.