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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Here I go sighing again.

It is truly amazing to see how far one can come in life, even in the face of adversity.  Recently I spent a week with youth and young adults in a leadership institute, and what a wonderful experience for all involved.  For me, being surrounded by so many youthful, energetic teens has a way of bringing out the fun-loving, carefree person I can be at times, reminding me of the potential that each individual has.  But, alas, being with them also reminds me of what I had with my daughter, how she loved to have fun, how she was so full of life, and how much she dreamed of and planned for.  

Ironically, I was okay for the first 2-3 days.  As the week continued I found myself sighing more deeply (a sign of stress or anxiety) and I knew, this week was taking me on a emotional roller coaster ride.  I was being reminded of what I lost, what could have been and what dreams had been shattered.  But with all this, I was also surprised that I was in control.  How?  Well I didn't find myself crying as they shared their dreams, hopes and even fears with me and the other adult leaders.  I was able to hear their stories, understand their trials, and enter into what they were experiencing without my feelings and emotions taking over.  

Just a couple of years ago when I was also on team for this same institute, I would find myself crying often and uncontrollably.  The teenagers who had attended would actually glance over at me if they knew what was being shared would evoke tears.  They knew that they could make Rose Mary cry easily, and I did.  To actually be able to replay this segment of my life, in a similar scenario, and see the difference, has a healing quality.  This retrospection helps me to see and grasp that I have in fact come a long way, that I am healing, that I am embracing the new 'normal' in my life.  

Will I ever be the same person I was just over 5 years ago?  NO!  How can I be, I have had to reach into areas of myself I did not know or even dreamed existed.  I have had to find a strength that I did not believe was even humanly possible.  My outlook on life remains positive but now I look at it from different angles.  I am not afraid to look deeply into anyone's eyes, to see the person that dwells within, to see the real individual; the one with joys and sorrows, with hopes and disillusions, with courage and trepidation.  To see the person who wants to be everything they dream of, but holds back because life can sometimes be difficult.  No I am not the same.  Yes, I may appear carefree, smiling and hopeful, but yet, like so many people I meet and so many of you who read this blog; so much lies beneath the surface, so much is hidden, unseen by the human eye. 

My grief and pain has taken me down roads I would never had dreamed of, opened up new doors that I would never have looked at, let alone knock on, and taken me into places that the bravest of people would not dare venture into.  Yet here I am, arriving at my new self, unsure of who I am yet, but certain that I am were I need to be at the moment.  What does it all mean?  Who knows!  Do I like this new me?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I know I can be there if someone needs understanding, compassion and a listening ear; and no, because I arrived here because of my daughter's death. Believe me when I say, how much I wish I could have changed the outcome, how much I wish my daughter was still a physical part of my life.  I look at my grandchildren and wonder if she would have had children, what would she be doing right now, and so on.  No different, really, than anyone who has faced the death of a loved one.  Yet, we all make it somehow.  We don't find something to fill the void, nothing can do that.  What we do is accept that there will always be a certain emptiness, a hole that we learn to live with, and through faith, we cling to the fact that our love transcends even the greatest of abysses and that for me, I will see Rachel again.  

My strength comes from knowing that Rachel guides me, is there when I need her, and lets me know from time to time that she is near.  There are reminders of her presence in my life, and they happen when I seem to need them most.  There isn't a day when Rachel isn't a part of it.  And on those days when I cannot seem to hear the gentle reminder of her presence, someone or something lets me know.  Just as your loved ones do the same for you.  

We all have dark days and difficult times, we all struggle with life's twists and turns, but if we allow ourselves to grow, to reach out to others, we can find a way through it.  I could not have come this far alone, and I know that I will continue to need people in my life; and that my journey is far from over.  So why would I want to go it alone.  Why would anyone want to travel alone?  The most important thing to remember as we travel life's roads, is to give ourselves the time to take in the scenery, and to allow ourselves to heal.  All the speeding in the world may appear to get us to our destination faster, but in the end, what we left uncared for, catches up to us.  So take your grief slowly, allow yourself the luxury of going through it, rather than circumventing it.  It is when we give ourselves permission to grieve, to fully grieve, that we begin to heal.

Blessings! and until we meet again.


  1. Oh Rose Mary, this is so poignant. Why do we so often feel pressured to hurry through our grief? Thank you for this wonderful reminder that grieving has no timeline. Healing doesn't either. Thanks for writing so eloquently about this.

    1. Thank you Nancy. If only people would grasp the concept that we are all different and thus, experience things differently. Sadly people want to put everything in to neat compartments, and grief is no exception. In today's society everyone is looking for the quick fix, but there is none when you are going through sad or difficult times. More often people try to rush us through grief because they are uncomfortable with the situation, or they have not experienced a loss so intense, and are unable of comprehending why we haven't 'moved on' or gotten 'over it' yet. This is true of any type of grief, whether from the death of a loved one, or loss of life as we know it from illness, loss of income or any other major upheaval in our lives. It may sound so cliche, but unless we face our fears, and go at them head-on, we can't begin to move forward or heal. Hugs

  2. What would Rachel be doing had she never left us? Exactly what she's doing right at this moment. Encouraging you and pushing you ! I know physically Rachel isn't here but I feel that that's irrelevant. Because even when she was here with everyone physically thats not what she affected everyone with.... Her emotions her laugh her spirit is what gravitated everyone who met her to laugh along with her and love life so you see her non physical presence is overcome with the very spirit she had and I believe continues to live through you ! It's sad to wonder where and what she would be but I honestly can't imagine her being anything less than the amazingly free spirited Rachel that she always was! The rest is just small facts. Xoxoxoxoxo you're doing amazing things mom! Keep it up


    1. Thanks Joana.

      Yes her spirit is very much alive in so many ways; and it is the realization that this is true that sometimes takes my breath away. I only wonder about what she would be doing when I see others her age or younger, who are still trying to figure out where they are going. I know I will always miss her, and as a mom I can't help but wonder, and that is true for all my children. We always wonder what they will aspire to, what they will accomplish, and what experiences lie ahead. My hope is that they will always feel fulfilled and blessed.

      Again thanks for reminding me that she gave me so much...
      Hugs... Love you!

  3. I just discovered your blog today. My 23 year old son died 11 weeks ago and I'm still in shock. It's hard to even breathe.
    I've been searching for blogs and websites by and for bereaved parents and I've collected them all into one site:
    I thought you'd like to know that I added your blog for my own reading and for other parents.

  4. I am so sorry. Losing a child is hard to explain, unless you have experienced it. You are moving in the right direction, I too reached out for whatever would and could help me understand what I was feeling and going through. I started my blog as an extension of my personal journal, it helped me voice what I had experienced in the hopes of helping others, while helping myself. For me, finding support was very important to keeping my sanity, when I could not reach out to family, I sought counseling and support groups. The key for me was getting to know all I could about grief, and the journey through grief. Books like 'Finding Your Way after a Child Dies' by Phyllis Vos Wezeman & Kenneth R. Wezeman; 'ABC's of Healthy Grieving' by Harold Ivan Smith, just to mention a few, really helped. The key is to find what works for you. Keeping you and your family in my prayers, and thank you for the link to your blog, I'll highlight it here. Blessings!