Lately I feel like I’m drowning. Drowning in grief, in sorrow, in deep ice cold water with sharks circling around me. I’ve never felt so alone…or at least I can’t remember the last time I felt so lonely. I’ve got people all around me, complimenting me, loving me, hugging me, praying for me, and yet, here I am, completely submerged, wishing I could find my way back to the boat that I fell off of.
I’ve been treading water for two years now. “Look how strong you are,” they say to me, “you’re doing great!” But I’m getting tired and I’m feeling weak, and frankly, I’m scared. I’ve been wondering how long I’ll have to keep this up. How long will I be sad? How long will I wonder if I could have saved my son’s life? How many times do I have to fight off the “Why”? How many times should I pray for answers, for comfort, for my life back!? Those questions are sharks that circle around me, waiting…waiting for the right moment to claim victory over me.
I was talking to someone yesterday who asked me if I’ve found peace, if I’m learning to live with my sorrow but not be defined by it. Her words were a life raft. They shifted my perspective and my energy instantly. All this time, I’ve been trying to get back on that boat, and at some point, I accepted that I had to be in the water…that my ship had sailed, so to speak. But yesterday; yesterday was the first time I had the realization that I could learn to breathe underwater.
Part of being a bereaved mom, part of surviving SIDS, part of accepting this loss, is learning to live in it. I want to learn to have joy again, to let go of guilt when I don’t mention Leo, to calm my anxious heart that is crying out for Heaven, for Leo, for the end.
Yesterday, I stopped treading water. I sank into the ocean and let it become my new home and I watched as the sharks swam away. I know they’re still in the ocean with me but they aren’t circling anymore. I’m not tired anymore. Now I’m learning…now I’m REALLY learning, not how to survive, as I had been the past two years, but to LIVE again. There is life without Leo, there is GOOD life without Leo. It’s not what I wanted, I would never choose this, but so it is, and it’s high time I learn to live again.
I would be devastated if I also lost Alyssa, Lily, or Zoe, so what makes me think that I can go on living a life of misery and sadness when these girls are still here with me? It’s like I lost all of them if I were to continue only treading water. They deserve to have an exciting, robust, crazy happy life with their vibrant mother. We can all be mermaids together, living in the ocean that we never expected to be in. And for those who know Zach, just picture it, he would be the most handsome mer-man out there. I’d even let him grow his beard out.
I wish it didn’t have to be this way. All I ever wanted was you. I want all 4 of my kids here with me and I’ll forever be filled with a deep emptiness where I carved a piece of my heart, my soul, my being, just for you, as I did for my other children. I know you’ll understand and encourage me as I move forward. I’m letting go of what was and taking hold of what is. I’ll make you proud of how recklessly I throw myself into living this life for the short time that I have left. I’ll teach your sisters to live with wild abandon. And I’ll grab your dad’s hand and we will run, and play, and laugh, and love, more truly than ever before. I know you’re here with me. I feel you. I know you lived for me the way that I live for you. I am me because I had you.
Forever loving and missing you,