I have an enormous amount of emotional baggage. I'm working very hard to clear it out so that my future looks vastly different from my past. I've talked about the specialized kind of therapy I'm involved in right now, EMDR. It's hard to understand the concept, but the results are phenomenal. Here's the link to my person's website if you want to learn a little bit.
In my job alone, I am confronted with death regularly. I am good, or so I'm told, with the families I serve experiencing this. A nurse I work with thanked me yesterday out of the blue and told me heartwarming thoughts of appreciation. Those are few and far between, but help make it possible to get through those emotional days.
In my own life, I seem to know a lot of death, too. It's not geriatric death, where an 86-year-old woman who's lived life to the fullest passes quietly in her sleep. I see the deaths of children. I have long thought, and said aloud that death is not the worst thing that could happen to anyone. The children whose families I serve, as my Olivia did, suffer. Sometimes, it's a short course from an accident. Sometimes, it's years and years of a devastating illness. Regardless of the whys, the loss is just as intense and painful. No parent should ever outlive their child.
In my personal life, aside from the life-altering loss of my daughter, I also lost three other pregnancies. I've come to terms with that over the past six months.
What has happened the past couple of weeks is that I wonder daily, sometimes hourly, why. I don't just wonder that about Olivia and my other losses. I wonder why there is such sickness and hurt in the world. It's not wars that take so many lives in my world.
I believe prayer is like a conversation with God. I pray often because I just talk to God. I look to the night sky when I get home from work. I talk to whatever is up there. I'm such a small piece of all of that. Surely there is someone or something that will hear me and offer some answers!
I don't ask why Olivia had to die anymore. My heart was crushed and pulverized that day of February 10, 2008. But, for the first time in months, there was peace on her face. I hold on to that.
What I ask and wonder is: Why is there so much hurt and sadness and crap that descends upon blameless families? When will the hurt lessen? Does Olivia see that I never forget her? Sometimes, I get my answers in the most unusual ways.
I opened my email today to videos from far away. A like-minded mother friend in South Dakota sent me videos of her kids doing a balloon release to honor my Olivia. My heart sang!
I tell the families I work with or others who've gone through the loss of a child that their child will NOT be forgotten! It's one of the biggest fears of a bereaved parent as far as I can tell. My friend Stacy verified that for me.
If you know a bereaved parent and I bet more of you do than don't, don't be afraid to say the child's name. Don't be afraid to let them know your thoughts go to that joy of their life that is achingly missing. Don't be afraid you'll make us cry. We cry anyway. It's good when there are tears that are more than just grief.
My friend Kristen made this just after Olivia died. I still treasure it.
Video memorial to Olivia
I'll continue to talk to God. I'll continue to look up to the sky to commune with the universe. I need to feel connected to all of this that's so much greater than I am. It's one of the few peaceful times I can count on.