Bleak. Exhausting. Raw.
There will be plenty of days like this.
You know the ones. The days when no matter how hard you try, you cannot manage to see past the pain, when the weight of it all feels far beyond what you can bear.
The days when the future seems nothing short of daunting, when it seems you will always be surrounded by darkness.
The days when everything feels like a trigger, when tears are ever-present and threaten to spill over at the slightest provocation.
Yes, there will be plenty of days like this.
But on occasion, you may notice something more – a glimpse of light, of hope, perhaps even joy.
When these moments arise, please do your aching heart a favor. Grant yourself permission to feel something beyond the pain and despair.
Quiet the guilty voices in your mind, and embrace these moments, no matter how fleeting they may be.
No one can survive within grief’s deepest trenches forever.
It is necessary to come up for air, to rise to the surface and find life again.
I assure you, doing so does not mean that you have moved on, nor that you have forgotten your child. No, certainly not.
It means, rather, that you are finding courage in a world that feels so very different from anything you have ever known.
It means that you are choosing to live, an opportunity never afforded to your child.
And in doing so, you are honoring this precious child of yours.
In the time that has passed since my daughter’s death, I have found that her presence feels most palpable when I open my eyes and my heart to the wonder that remains in her wake.
I think of these moments, when life somehow feels beautiful despite her gaping absence, as gifts from my sweet girl.
I encourage you to do the same.
When you feel a lightness taking hold, imagine that your child is speaking to you. This is your child urging you to lean into life, to soak up every ounce of it.
This is your child reminding you that you are worthy, that you deserve to feel the sun’s warmth upon your face, to feel your heart soar.
This is your child telling you to hold on, that there is indeed beauty left for you in this life.
Go ahead. Let the light in.
Your heart deserves it.
Photo credit: Sarah Burg
Sarah Burg is a wife, writer, and mother of three beautiful children. Following a heroic battle with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), Sarah’s second daughter, Willow Grace, died in her arms shortly after birth in June 2016. Willow’s death has transformed Sarah into a writer with a reason, and she hopes to offer healing and kinship to the child loss community through her words. Sarah also blogs at The Rising (www.sarahjburg.com), where she explores life after loss.