Grief comes in waves. Unexpected, fierce, uncontrollable and without exception. The waves batter and bruise you continuously until you think you can’t fight them anymore. But like with all storms, eventually they subside; coming less, perhaps not always as strong. Then comes the days where the skies are clear, nary a cloud to cover the bright blueness. Grief gently laps at your toes, as you feel it’s serene unmistakable undercurrents reminding you that it never really leaves.
Grief is the acknowledgment of the loss of someone you love. But grief is an acceptance of the loss of self. Fractured pieces that no longer fit together perfectly.
As a new mother I was at a loss when the nurse handed me the baby.
I specialized in early childhood. I worked in the field of caring for small children however looking down at this precious new born, the fear of what to do next was paralyzingly to me. The sense of responsibility to protect, love and nurture Ryan overwhelmed me. I had to get it right.
So I turned to those that had gone before me. I relied heavily on the experience and wisdom of our mothers to see me through my uncertainty. I meekly handed my power of motherhood to others so that I didn’t feel alone. So I wouldn’t screw it up.
But giving up what is yours to claim does not necessarily provide relief, respite perhaps but not relief. What you do not know can be learned. Where hesitancy exists, certainty can prevail. If only time guaranteed you the ability to make mistakes and correct them. But that is another lesson.
It did not take long for Scott and I to grow more comfortable with parenting. In short order, we felt like experts with our own children. There came a confidence that seemed unshakable.
Until there is a loss.
Now I feel very much like that new mother all over again. I don’t understand the grief that I have been given. I’m awkward, plodding forward, fearful of the picture I represent. My gravest concern is balancing the love and pain I feel for one child with the love and joy I feel for my girls. Is there a right way?
I look to others suffering similar burdens for cues that might offer insight.
But like the early days of motherhood, the journey I undertake is unique to me. For me to move forward, I can only honour a pain that is very individualistic.
And to find peace in a journey that can not be learned but only experienced.
It is a reminder of a love that cannot be diminished by grief nor loss.