Guest Post by Lea
There have been many things in my life that I have been fearful of. When I was young and in grade school, I was extremely self-conscious. I would physically get sick if I was requested to answer a question in front of the entire class. I would convince myself that I was going to mess up, or worse, get the answer entirely wrong. As I matured and experienced more and more impressionable life lessons I became more confident. I came a long, long way from being the insecure, afraid little girl I was. And then my son died.
Back then, challenging my fear was not something I wanted to do, but if I wanted to do well in school, I had to conquer that fear. At the time I didn’t realize the subtle things I was learning by pushing myself and expanding my comfort zone. I didn’t know that my confidence would grow, propelling me to take risks in other areas of my life. The lesson I learned was that in order to get “somewhere you had to leave nowhere behind”.
After Nicholas died I found myself living in ‘nowhere’ land. That was fine with me. My comfort zone had been shattered, my world had stopped. We were forced to take this unwanted journey through grief. Initially, the pain could be so intense and so powerful it threatened to dissolve the soul.
Nowhere land was just fine for a while. I wanted to stay there for a long time. Nowhere became very comfortable…and somewhere was not a place I wanted to go.
There are still days I find myself not wanting to go somewhere… still days when the heaviness in my heart outweighs the joys. The comfort of nowhere is enticing at times. It’s familiar. It’s safe. But it’s not where I want to be. Somewhere along the way I made the decision to challenge myself – confidently answering a question in front of the class – so to speak. I chose to go somewhere and it’s taken me to places I never could have imagined.
Early in our journey I remember thinking that anywhere is better than nowhere. I was so tired of feeling sad and helpless all of the time. It was after recognizing that anywhere is better than nowhere that I felt some healing begin. There were many days when I was terrified of where somewhere would take me. The unknown is distressing. The waiting, close to unbearable.
Grief is dreadful stuff. Grief has pounded me, tortured me, exhausted me and collapsed my very soul. It never ceases to amaze me the strength and tenacity of the Human Spirit. After experiencing the unimaginable I somehow manage to keep breathing, somehow I manage to exist, somehow I have managed to grow from such devastation.
I was terrified that choosing to go ‘somewhere’ meant leaving Nicholas behind – now I know that is the furthest from the truth. He has travelled with me to ‘somewhere’. He has allowed me to get there. He has helped me get back up when I’ve stumbled along the way. I chose to acknowledge my pain, confront it and slowly the pain lessened. The past three years have been intense, unpredictable and full of unimaginable grief, but they have also been filled with hope, inspiration and an incredible amount of healing. Nicholas has enriched our family with an energy and infinite love that is beyond comprehension.
There is an indomitable strength and spirit that now resides in my heart. A desire to comfort and support others that have been forced to travel this journey of forever grieving their babies; one where I have walked and wept. It is the intrinsic need to express my immeasurable love for my youngest son in a positive and tangible way. To keep his memory alive. To help his legacy soar. This desire is deep in my bones. It pumps through my soul and it bleeds through the work I create in honour of Nicholas. Offering my love and true understanding to others empowers me and has allowed me to reach an incredible strength within. A strength that can hopefully make a difference in someone else’s time of need.
Choosing to go “somewhere and to leave nowhere behind” is a constant struggle. Grief, hope, sadness, love… will always co-mingle in my heart. But I will continue to fight. I will continue to reach out to others. I will continue to honour my son with all that I am.