“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler
Yesterday, my dear friend Kate (https://www.facebook.com/chasingrainbowsblog) spent a day thinking a lot about her son Gavin. More so than usual. You see, yesterday was Gavins sixth birthday. But she did not celebrate the day with her son. Because Gavin passed away at the age of 5 1/2.
Gavin was born with what remained an undiagnosed genetic syndrome. His life has inspired and touched so many people. On April 14th, on Kate’s 43rd birthday, sweet Gavin passed away. I sat at my computer yesterday morning, scrolling through old photos of Gavin and crying, while my own 6 year old son sat on the floor nearby, practicing writing his letters. I wept for the unimaginable depth of grief that I can only try to imagine Kate went through and continues to tread through daily. Wept for the guilt i felt for having a son who saw his 6th birthday, and will probably see many more to come. Wept for Gavins brother who will miss him every day and for Gavins unborn sister who will never be lucky enough to have known him in person.
I have known a lot of women who have lost children over the years. Women who clutched positive pregnancy tests and were over-the-moon ecstatic at the prospect….only to find them selves days,weeks,months later, bleeding into the toilet, helpless to stop it. I have known women who birthed still babies, cradled their silent,perfect bodies and kissed them goodbye, never knowing the joy of kissing them hello. I have known women who had to watch too-small coffins being lowered into the ground and then gone home to a house with a too-empty bedroom filled with clothes that will never be worn again and a bed that will never be slept in again.
I’ve also known women who buried husbands, fiances, brothers, sisters, best friends. You expect the day will come that you will have to say goodbye and bury your parents and your older relatives. After all, age is a common-sense denominator in life, is it not? But we tend to forget how fragile living can really be. We get in a comfort zone of assuming those who walk beside us will always be there. And the children, well of COURSE the children will never fall before we do. Look how YOUNG they are. How vibrant and alive. Oh how very naive we can be at times.
Grief changes you. Scars your heart. Morphs the way you look at people, at circumstances, at living your own life.
I myself lost my best friend and fiance 2 1/2 years ago. There literally is not a single day that passes that he is not on my mind in some way. He is in the way Drezdyn love salami and chocolate milk. The way my older boys throw a football. An inside joke that can still make me laugh out loud in an empty room when it crosses my mind as if he is right here with me whispering it in my ear. He is a part of me. He is why I am the woman I am today, as much by his life as by his passing. His presence being in my life showed me the strength within myself. The loss of that presence helped me see that strength in action. I am forever indebted, forever grateful, forever changed by his life and by his death.
Life is a fragile bird. So, treat it with kindness. Take time to cajole it from the nest and take flight. Honor it. Respect it. Live it. Love it.
And for those who walk this journey with you, tell them how much you love them. Tell them thank you. Hug them. Laugh with them. Hold them just a little tighter. A little longer.
We are never promised tomorrow.