Losing a child feels a lot like how I imagine getting hit by lightning feels. There is the sudden thunderous jolt that comes out of nowhere and knocks you to the ground, leaving you convulsing in a heap, shaking, paralyzed, wordless. There is the shock, the great crack of consciousness, as you witness your own reality splitting into a million pieces. The world as you knew it, your place within in it, everything you thought possible, becomes unrecognizable and terrifying. It happened to me. It happened to me. The brain cannot absorb the idea that this is real.
There is no way to plan for this. There is no way to jump out of harms way. And so we become the walking wounded. With invisible gushing injuries and missing limbs.
I spent the early days that followed my daughter’s death in the bath tub, draining and refilling the water that would turn cold. I didn’t know what else to do. I prayed that I would drown. Take me too. On the third day, a new thought came into my awareness: my survival through this was not guaranteed. There was a very real possibility that whatever parts of me remained were at risk of being swept away by the storm. I would have to do something.
I realized that if I didn’t do something, this would become the story of my daughter’s life. She would be referenced throughout the circle of my friends and family as the reason why her mother is now a complete mess. I made my decision: I would survive. I would not let my destruction become my daughter’s legacy. I would not put that on her. I would survive so that people would remember her by her beauty and her light.
Tragedy and loss force us to a crossroad. Now what? What happens next?
You don’t need to know how you will get through this, you just need to decide that you will. So what is your reason for pushing forward? How will you carry your child with you after they are gone? What choice will you make? Tell me about it in the comments below.