Twenty Seconds

December 11, 2014

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

I was watching, ‘We Bought a Zoo’ last night when I heard the above quote. Well, I wasn’t really watching it. My husband was the one watching it while I tried to avoid it because I didn’t want to think about its sad back story and I didn’t like hearing the characters yell at each other. But mostly I didn’t want to watch it because the little girl in it reminded me too much of how I think my daughter may have looked. Anyway, despite my best efforts to avoid seeing it, I couldn’t help but overhear this quote.

Twenty seconds of courage.

After Ariella’s death, I didn’t feel like I had much courage left at all. Some days I think I used up all of my courage just simply getting out of bed as it’s pretty hard to face the world when your baby has died. I can remember one day having a burst of “insane courage” and being able to pack up a few of her things. I felt emotionally shattered afterwards, but that little burst of insane courage was enough to do what I needed.

twenty seconds

Twenty seconds of bravery.

Sometimes bravery isn’t what first springs to mind. Other people might think something is brave when you don’t. Ariella was born at 9am and that night we announced her (still)birth on Facebook. A friend messaged to tell me that she thought I was so brave to be sharing “so soon.” But the thing is, I didn’t see it as bravery. Not at all. I just needed people to know so that we wouldn’t feel so alone! And yet to her that was brave. On the other hand, something might take incredible bravery from you and no one else will ever know. Showing up to an event when you know there will be someone there who has hurt you? That is brave, even if everyone else is none the wiser. Holding someone’s newborn after the death of your own? That’s brave. Sometimes I think about how I have to live the rest of my life without Ariella and I feel so overwhelmed at the amount of things or events that will be hard. How can I possibly do it? One event at a time. Twenty seconds at a time.

Something great will come of it.

This is probably the hardest part – we don’t always see the greatness that comes from our insane courage or embarrassing bravery. But sometimes we do. Soon after Ariella was born, I noticed that a friend seemed to be feeling down. She wasn’t a close friend by any means and I didn’t want to overstep a boundary by asking questions about whatever was going on privately. But I thought I should be brave and reach out anyway, in the hope I could help. She shared with me that she had just had a miscarriage. We began to chat almost daily about our losses and the pain we were suffering and even now, barely a day passes without us chatting. I wasn’t sure it was appropriate to ask the initial question, but I summoned all my (rather shaky) courage and reached out. And a great friendship has blossomed.

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.

  • Larissa Genat

    Larissa is wife to Marcus and mama to four, including one precious girl lost to stillbirth. She writes about her daughter and life after loss at Deeper Still.

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