When a child is born, we celebrate every milestone. The 6th month being especially special. Rolling, crawling, standing on their feet, responding with emotions are all special achievements that are celebrated. Wish I could turn back time to when we were celebrating Lilly’s 6th-month milestones.
January 11th marked 6 months without Lilly. I have felt sadness, anger, pain, rage, and terror. I have felt torn apart. I have stared into a total emotional abyss - simply letting it swallow me. In the middle of the tsunami of pain, I have also found overwhelming peace by facing, embracing, sharing, and acknowledging my loss.
December was a month of many miracles. Miracles that I believe were only possible because of Lilly‘s love and protection. Amidst the sadness and pain, I have started feeling grateful for the little things. Six months later, I have learned:
1. Love never dies. There will never come a day, hour, minute, or second I will stop loving or thinking about Lilly.
2. To slowly change my perception to “Why Not Me”. I am more acutely aware of those suffering everywhere - the family that has lost their loved one to Covid, the homeless man hoping for a warm meal, the countless number of people struggling with depression, anxiety, or a mental illness. I am starting to realize that we are all in this together.
3. Love and Grief are a Package Deal. I’ve learned I cannot have one without the other. Grief is a natural response to the loss of what we’ve cherished. Where there was great love, there will be immense grief. Grief is now part of my life adventure. So I stay with it and I breathe. My own grief has given me a depth of compassion and empathy for others that I never had.
4. Grief is lonely. While everyone moves one (rightfully so), I am the one whispering Lilly’s name at a family gathering. I am the one feeling the pain of seeing her empty chair at the kitchen counter. I am the one talking to her throughout the day.
5. To put a mask on. I am able to pick the appropriate mask for the appropriate occasion. I can usually pull off a bright smile when a bright smile is called for.
6. Lilly is gone. I can’t cry it away or pray it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. She is gone!
I am in the infancy of child loss. I am not sure what emotions each day will bring. Some days I feel a gripping hole in my heart while others I am grateful for the time with Lilly. Some days, the waves of depression are so strong that getting out of bed is a task in itself. While other days, I am able to complete things on my ‘to-do list’.
My surviving children, deserve a normal mother. Not one that is emotionally erratic and emotionally unavailable. I am working towards being there for the other three. I struggle with being happy and content. I struggle with being OK. Losing Lilly will never be OK.
Death is the greatest powerful teacher of life. It reminds us of how precious being in the present moment is. It reminds us of how to not take each moment for granted. It reminds us to take pleasure in the simplest of things. I guess in a way darkness is light just in a different intensity. I am treading through the darkness to get to the light. On a lighter note, the living is a gift that I must cherish.