i find myself very curious as to how others who experience a loss go about various, seemingly mundane tasks of "life after death." not in a comparison way. because God knows, each journey and person is unique and we all respond and heal differently. this, in fact, is one of the greatest lessons i've learned in grief. there is no right way. there is no wrong way. there is no time table. there are no end dates or goal markers. feelings, whenever they happen, or how they express themselves, whether radical or tame, are normal.
there is freedom in grief.
for example, i know someone who lost an eight month old little boy who cannot look at the hand and footprints that were made on his last day of life at the hospital. they are stored in a box in the garage. it's just too difficult for her to see. however, john and i display noah and baby isaac's handprints in our home. we look at them every day. is one way more loving than the other? is one the "healthier" response? no. and of course not.
it was very early on in the grief journey that i realized i can't just do what i think i should do or what others think i should do. i'm the only one who knows what i need, because i'm the only one who has gone through what i have gone through. my journey is my own. but as an innate people-pleaser, this is difficult. because i want others to like me. to view me as strong. to see me as doing okay.
the last few posts i've written have had an "edge" to them. not as sweet. a little more harsh. a little jaded. because that's how i'm feeling right now - this is the valley grief is taking me through.
and it has been met with mostly love and grace, but also with some criticism. after my post yesterday, i received some negative comments. (not my first post to receive negative feedback, but for some reason these hit me harder.) they were all responses from complete strangers, who don't know me, don't know my heart, but assumed i was someone who needed fixing and it was them who needed to do it. (at least that's how i felt.) and it made me cry. because i already feel like a bad person. i already feel like my emotions are playing tricks on me. i already feel like i should be more faithful, more "christian," look to my pain less and to God more, believe that God has a perfect plan for me, and just not be so rude to people who love cats. so when i hear others correct me and judge my actions, it's rubbing salt on an already open and gapping wound. putting your already broken heart out there and it only being misunderstood and stomped on is not ideal.
now i very much realize i'm writing in a public space, and with that comes an open door for others to see into my life. i made the conscience choice not to be private about my experience because i hoped to somehow, in some way, maybe validate someone else who may feel similarly. i hoped to give a glimpse into life after the loss of child, to those who have no clue, to maybe better understand what it is we go through, and how difficult it really is. but with that i've put too much pressure on myself, i think. to fully educate people on baby loss is way too big a task, because no one, who hasn't gone through it, will ever, ever know what it's like.
so i let go. i let go of the expectations of others. i let go of my pride. i let go of needing others to understand me. i let go of defending my every feeling. i let go of perfection. i let go and hold on to the promise that i'm loved just as i am.
God, grant me the grace to be me, Your girl. not as the world would have me, but ever Yours.