Saturday, February 20, 2016

Grieving and Gratitude

She left this earth on Valentine's Day.

My hands held her as she slipped further and further away, until I knew that she had quietly gone. 

It wasn't the ending that I wanted, but it was beautiful all the same.  

The beauty came from being by her side, not out of duty or circumstance, but because we had a deep connection fostered from a lifetime of unconditional kindness, patience and love.

Departing from this world, her beauty flowed in and around each of us and it filled the room with a calming gentleness that I am not sure I will ever experience again. I only know that I was blessed to be there to witness it. 

As the week went on though, that comforting feeling faded and became a deep tiredness, which invaded every muscle, every fiber, every bit of my body and mind.  It was difficult to see past my grief and so I traveled inward, staying until I could wake up and feel strong.  On Friday, in the way that miracles happen, the weather suddenly changed, bringing along unseasonable temperatures and sunshine. I am sure this was her attempt to wake me up.

What I am also sure of, is that she understood how this same feeling of sadness reminded me of the sharp ache that I felt at the time of each daughter's diagnosis.  Without exaggeration, the entry of type 1 diabetes was a heavy death of many of our hopes and dreams.  Having a diagnosis that so altered the course of our lives, brought along an exhaustion stemming from grief at having lost a carefree piece of childhood for my girls.

Crying tears of sadness this week, I cried for all of the loss that I have faced during my lifetime.  Even as an adult, while I know bad things happen, my heart breaks at the helplessness of all of it.  I can't stop any of it.  This is life.  

Because of that knowledge, my tears fell for all of the pieces of life that while making me strong, also make me feel helpless and broken.  So cry I did.  With the girls, with my husband, my sweet family and friends.  I cried more than I have cried in years and I am certain, the wall holding them off is temporary because the grief is not yet subsided.

I think that is OK.  This is the needed healing process for regaining our strength during times of sorrow.  I am humbled at how fragile life truly is.  With this reminder, my gratefulness is tenfold and shared my love and gratitude many times over.

Yet, I know that I will forever miss the dream of the way life was (or would have been)... through our loss of health for the girls, for the loved ones have already departed, for the dreams that never materialized and oh so deeply for the woman that loved me more than anyone I have ever known.

However, with the gift of sunshine, comes the realization that it is another day and another chance to enjoy what IS certain... that my girls are living full, happy lives, that I have wonderful memories and stories of everyone that I knew, that my dreams and hopes are endless and that I was and am, still deeply loved.

For all of this, I have gratitude.


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