As the dust of our loss settles in and our new reality has taken root now having had our first Christmas without Braedon and the passing of what should have been a big celebration for his 19th birthday I have been feeling completely lost.
This loss, like an earthquake has shaken me to my core and I often feel like I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve been trying to find my way back to who I was before but I’m realizing that there is no way back. The old me is gone and that’s ok.
I may look the same and may even seem the same to most but the devastation of losing Braedon has profoundly changed me. Even when I smile there is still deep heartache just below the surface. My heart is more fragile, I feel more deeply, I cry more often, I’m more empathetic and I view life differently. Things that mattered before no longer have the same meaning and I’m more committed to making Braedon proud by becoming braver every day.
To say that 2018 was the most trying, devastating, heart wrenching year of life my would-be an understatement. The truth is there are no words to truly describe the loss of a child; your own flesh and blood gone from this world. As devastating as this year has been it has also taught me many lessons as well. At first, I wanted to ignore these lessons because it felt like acknowledging them meant like I somehow accepted or appreciated this loss. I try to remind myself daily that finding meaning and learning is a way to survive, it’s a way to keep going. It’s a way to honor Braedon and everything he brought into our lives.
Letting this loss destroy me is not an option. I owe it to Braedon, to myself and to the world to make the most of the time I’ve been gifted. I owe it to him to truly live during my one precious life and to become the best version of myself. For some reason he is gone and I’m still here. I will never understand that, but I will not take this time for granted. I am living for him now too.
So here you have it, lessons learned in the most trying, devastating, heart wrenching year of my life.
- Sometimes just surviving is enough. Keep going and take it one day, one moment, one breath at a time if you need too.
- It’s ok to feel your emotions; to sit with heartache, walk with pain, cry and even ugly cry. It’s therapeutic, healthy and normal.
- Not everything in life happens for a reason- sometimes terrible, heartbreaking things happen and there’s no good reason why. Please do not tell anyone experiencing loss and grief that everything happens for a reason.
- Always tell those special people in your life how you feel. If you love someone, tell them often because one day you will wake up and the opportunity to tell the person(s) you love most in the world how much they mean to you will be gone. Don’t wait. Send them a message if you have to or write a letter but don’t wait.
- Grief is not only mental but very physical. Deep loss is felt in every inch of your body, deep within your soul and all the way into your bones.
- There is nothing in this world more important than family and friends.
- Never take anything, anyone or any day for granted. Make holidays, birthdays and special occasions a priority. You never know when it will be your last birthday or Christmas.
- It’s ok to ask for help. I have friends and family I lean on, I’ve been to therapy and I’m part of grief support group and camp. I also see my doctor regularly and take medication for depression.
- We’re all stronger than we’ve ever imagined.
- One person and one life can change the world
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