I thought I’d die from her death. Often, I prayed that I would. I believed the pain would eventually overtake my body and I would die, too. I couldn’t imagine a life worth living without my child. The emptiness and facing a life without my daughter felt overwhelming.
I wasn’t suicidal. I was grieving. I was trying to find my way in a world that I didn’t know existed, a world where babies die. The pain was piercing, excruciating, and all-consuming. I didn’t know how I would make it out from grief’s heavy weight and I could not find the roadmap to help me navigate such a lonely experience.
But, I did. And I believe you can, too. I also know that it isn’t easy. I had to accept that finding peace in my life didn’t condone my daughter’s death. I had to truly believe that pursuing healing honored her short life far more than my pain ever could.
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The hardest thing I have ever done was survive those early days without my daughter in my arms. Before I could consider larger tasks like counseling and outreach, I had to start in the simplest of ways. My daily goals were to nourish my body and gain strength every day which included:
- Waking up
- Getting out of bed
- Eating healthy, nourishing food
- Breathing fresh air
- Getting sleep at night
These goals may seem trivial, oversimplified, and perhaps overwhelming – but in the midst of severe grief even the simplest tasks are a huge accomplishment and should be acknowledged. My motto was if I could do it once, I could do it again the next day and the next day again. One day at a time.
My suggestions are not grand, in fact, they are small, tangible, steps to facing each day. In order to tend to your higher level needs, it is important that your basic needs are met first. Once you have a hold on those, you will be far better able to tackle the heavier, deep-rooted soul work that is necessary to survive this loss and seek peace and joy in life again.
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I found that as this routine became my top priority, I was better able to concentrate and feel stronger to face the larger lifelong task of healing. I knew I needed to be around people with less fear and anxiety. So my goals changed, they became more advanced and focused more on integrating back into society. It was important for me to be able to function again. In order to do so, I sought:
- Support groups
- Spending time with friends
- Returning to work
This was a hard time and didn’t come without tears and struggle, but relying on my routine and support system held me up when I didn’t know if I could continue. The next thing I knew, days had turned to months and then a year had passed.
They don’t give medals for taking care of ourselves through grief, but they should. It is devastating to get out of bed when your heart is broken and even harder still to face a world that has continued on when yours has fallen apart. But I believe in the human spirit and your ability to put one foot in front of the other. I know you can do it. I am here, cheering for you.
Photo by Marcus Wallis on Unsplash
Amie discovered a new appreciation of life after spending only 33 days with her daughter. She now raises 2 sons and takes advantage of every free moment to write, educate, and offer hope to bereaved families. Learn more about the books she has authored, her daughter’s non-profit foundation, and Amie’s life on her blog.