When the Search is Infinite
I wrote on “The Endless Search” for my latest workshop for Choosing Your Breath, and it had to do with all the ways we tend to look for our children after they are gone. In rainbows and sunsets, in butterflies and birds… colors and songs. The list is different, and sometimes the same for each of us. The topic got me to thinking about other things I found myself searching for right after losing our first baby.
I found myself bewildered and completely lost for words at how different everything was – and I mean EVERYTHING. Not that I could possibly expect them to be the same, because what kind of mother would expect such a thing? But still. The transition from before loss to post loss — it was a transformation I would have to spend years exploring… and searching… and most painful of all letting go… of everything I used to think I had all figured out.
Years straddling the mind-numbing tightrope between life and death, grief and love, guilt and joy…
Wondering if I’d ever be comfortable in my own skin again.
Would I ever resonate with my former passions like travel and art history and the smell of painting with fresh oils?
Would I ever be able to smile again without feeling like I was betraying my very own daughter? And did I actually want that? I didn’t know.
Would I ever have real life friends that could 100% relate to this situation?
Would I ever recognize this new person I found staring back at in the mirror each morning? Because she felt and looked like a complete stranger. She scared me a little. She wore new lenses and the world around her dulled a whole shade of the most exhausting and depressing grey. Nothing was appealing, and almost nothing felt worth living for.
I wondered how in the world things could ever be different, and at the same time that thought made me cringe. How could I want things to ever be the same, or even remotely okay?
She was dead. I wasn’t sure if I deserved – or even wanted – a real life anymore. On the other hand, surrendering to life without purpose felt like a complete waste to her memory and disregard to the life she fought so hard for. I knew there was more to this than surviving on my part.
The transition to this new world of “post loss” was so instantaneous that it would take years to find a place that felt like home again. A place where I could experience new, miraculous growth. And intentional existence.
Are you in the thick of raw and intense grief? You are not alone brave mama. And I know you don’t feel an ounce of bravery in your soul – you didn’t volunteer to join this army of bereaved mamas. This was placed into your life, and nothing could ever make that alright. But you must know, it won’t always feel so dreary and hopeless. Tread through this impossible storm of grief. Take big steps when you can, and honor your heart and tread lightly on the days you are feeling weary. Grief is the most tiresome work a person can be asked to do, and tenfold for those who have experienced the loss of a child.
I don’t know that we ever stop searching, only that I know with time on our side, we find a way to live with this impossibleness. And survive.
We have lived the nightmare of the most unnatural of deaths. And for some of us after a while, that means chasing this life and squeezing it for every drop is an obligation, because no amount of LIFE could possibly be enough for the life they lost. The life we missed out on too. So we chase, and we search, and we dare to enjoy the absolute impossible.