Letter to My Newly Bereaved Self
You are so loved.
It has been almost seven years now since your life changed. I know, because I was you. Seven years ago, I was the younger version of the person I am now, anxiously awaiting the birth of my fifth baby.
That baby died.
It hasn’t been seven years for you. Not yet. You can’t imagine that it will ever be a faraway thing, this loss. It will always be right here, right in the front of every thought, every breath.
You don’t think you are going to make it.
You don’t think you can survive this pain.
You don’t think your shattered heart can, or even should, go on beating.
It will. And it should.
I am here, on the other side of this pain, to tell you that you are going to be okay. More than okay. You are going to be joyful and fulfilled and fearless. You are going to giggle. As hard as you are crying today, there will be a day when you will laugh so hard your sides hurt, where tears stream down your face and you can’t breathe for the happiest of reasons instead of the saddest.
This is the deepest kind of wound. But you are the strongest kind of person.
You will not be the same. Ever. You will be better. Your son’s life will make you love more deeply, understand pain more fully, and embrace life because of its impermanence.
Precious self, some of the most hurtful parts of this are still to come for you. People you thought would support you in your time of need will disappear. Some will betray you. Others still will run from your battered soul in fear and horror.
This is a gift. There will be ones who stay, who hold your ravaged heart and let it bleed for as long as it needs. Some who you never knew could be so kind, so gentle, so supportive will show up. They will appear in your life and they will show you exactly what a friend truly is. You think you know now. I promise you, they are going to teach you in ways that you cannot comprehend yet. Some of them you haven’t even met yet; others are mere acquaintances. They will become the kindred spirits you crave.
You are in the darkness at the moment. It is overpowering. It is enveloping you, and you can’t see the way out. I remember. One day, soon, there will be a match. It will take you a while to spark it, and it won’t offer much of a light at first. That’s okay. It will even go back out a few times. That’s okay, too. Flames can be relit. Today, all you have to do is breathe. That’s all. Just breathe, sweet girl. Just breathe. The light will grow. It will come with time. Give it time.
You are a fighter. You do not feel like one, I know. But every day, you get up. You get out of bed, most days at least, and you go on with life, even when you don’t want to. Even when it feels impossible. That is courage. You are brave. You are a warrior.
You are still going to say and do things that you will regret. Your pain will bring pain to others. But your pain will also help bring healing to others. You will reach for those who are hurting instead of running from them because you understand.
You will always miss your baby. There is a part of you that will never be whole. But you can fill it with light. Those who see you soul will know there is a piece missing. You will know there is a piece missing. But instead of darkness in that spot, there will be light. Your son is a light. You are a light.
My love, you are a survivor. I want to reach back in time and hug you so hard that all of your broken pieces will stick back together. You feel fragmented and alone. You are neither. You are complete and strong and so very, very loved. I love you. You are changed, but you are strong. You are going to make it through this. I believe in you.
You are my hero.