When I became a mother, I never really understood the pure and perfect nature of love.
How such a tiny, squishy and squealing little human can completely take your breath away and steal your heart, all in one intense moment.
As we watch our children grow, we teach, we nurture, we give, we love, we protect, and we provide. As parents, so much of our lives are invested in our children’s future.
Never. Never for one moment, do we ever entertain the thought that any of our children will not have have a “future.”
The mere thought was always too sickening to consider.
That was until the 15th of March, 2013.
That night, my exquisite 19-year-old daughter Hannah lost her life in a horrific car crash. In less than a split second, everything I knew about my life was GONE FOREVER.
Splintered into a million pieces.
Cast up into the sky, falling to earth with a sickening thud.
Placing a post of frangipanis (Hannah’s favorite flowers) in her cold hands in her coffin was, without doubt, the most heart wrenching, hideous moment of my life.
To say I would not wish it on another, would be an understatement.
In the six years since Hannah went home, I have learned so much. I have seen so many parallels of my journey in others and have willingly shared my journey, with the desire that it will validate the agony experienced by others.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED:
*NO TWO JOURNEYS ARE THE SAME. Just as no two loves are the same, even in the same family.
My husband, Graeme’s grief, was dissimilar to my own. He drank alcohol in the early days and cried all day, while I cooked and scrubbed.
I completely disagree when we are all judged for the way we grieve.
*GRIEF WILL GO ON FOREVER: Unfortunately. We have all heard grief being compared to “Waves crashing over you in the sea.” Initially, they come hard and fast and threaten to drown us.
Then the waves come less often and with much less ferocity.
This is an excellent analogy. It’s true. Those waves still happen, but I have accepted them.
*THE GRIEVING PROCESS HAS NO SHORTCUTS: We MUST endure every single stage, emotion, and pain. To bury, it is harmful to your health. (Physiology).
As a nurse and mother and wife, my whole life was caring for others. The ultimate problem was this: I BURIED MY GRIEF for two years.
The result? I suffered a stroke. It ended my career and almost my life.
*THE DEATH OF YOUR LOVED ONE IS THE BEGINNING OF MANY LOSSES:
Throughout this journey, however, I am thankful.
Ever so thankful that my darling daughter Hannah Jean chose this chubby, slightly blind and absent-minded woman to be her Mum.
Thankful for my family.
Thankful for those who have stood by me.
Thankful for the community who went above and beyond to cover us when Hannah died.
Thankful for the new role we have been given as Road Safety Ambassadors.
Yes indeed, love and hope can rest alongside grief and pain – even if on those burdensome days, I have to search for that joy a little harder.