The Journey of Grief is Meant to be Traveled

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A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "My blog is really depressing.  All I write about is grief."

And while I don't know if "depressing" is the right word to describe this blog, it is true that I mostly write about sadness and loss, with some posts on our rainbow baby mixed in.

I decided it was time to switch things up.  After all, there is more to [my] life than grief.  Right?

If you've been following this blog for awhile (and I do mean awhile), you might remember that I used to write mostly about food -- first focusing on my battle against disordered eating, and then eating disorder recovery and healthy eating.  I used to take and post a rather ridiculous amount of food photos.  Sometimes it was a grind, but often it was a fun challenge.

I found myself missing that, so I decided to bring the food back.  I cooked up some oats for breakfast, topped it off with scrumptious goodies, and took lots of photos before devouring said oats, intending to share my photos and a recipe here on the blog later.

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There, I thought to myself.  I'm backI'm not a grief blogger at all. 

Then the six month anniversary of Eve's stillbirth hit, sending pain cutting through me in all new ways.  And I realized -- my life really is all about grief right now, and to deny it would be both unhealthy and unhelpful. 

Now, somebody is not going to like that, so let me define what I mean when I say that.

Do I mean that I spend every second of everyday crying, that I can't get out of bed, or that there is nothing good to be found in my life?  No, not at all (although I think that the first two responses can be normal behaviors in the early stages of grief).

What I mean is this:

That when my daughter died, the person that I was died, and am I struggling to figure out who I am now, and who I am becoming.

That although I do not think about Eve every single second, my entire existence is permeated by the knowledge that she is dead, that she died inside me.

That while I am so grateful to be pregnant with Eve's younger sibling, this new baby is living and growing within the same womb that his sister died, and I am often paralyzed by how very little control I have over whether he will make it out of me alive.

That when someone asks me, "How's your day going?" I have no idea how to answer.  Because even though the day itself may be going just fine, I am still living with the reality that one of the most important people in my life died within my own body, and I still don't know what to make of that.

That my first and last thoughts in the day are of my daughter -- meaning that I wake and sleep with my mind and heart filled with images of her dead body, because that's all that I get to know of her in this life.

That the emotion can hit at any time, without logic or sense, and that it can feel just as raw and painful as the day I had to birth my daughter's dead body -- or worse.  

That my life has been invaded by panic and anxiety, and it is at times utterly crippling.

That I replay the moment when I decided to say good-bye to my daughter's body over and over in my mind, and wonder what kind of a mother could ever willingly let her daughter be taken away to be undressed and dissected and examined and then burned to ash -- even if it was not Eve herself, but only her shell.  

That nothing feels worth doing in the face of the enormity of loss, that everything has been reduced to triviality.

That I think of the future, and often can see nothing but a gamut of loss after painful loss, because the loss of my daughter was traumatic and has robbed me of my innocence forever.   

That I live with the knowledge that life can change in vast, immeasurable ways in the space of a moment, and it terrifies me.

That I know that God is for me, but that I tremble at what new devastation He might allow into my life for my good and His glory.  

In light of that, what meaning is there in a pile of oats?  Why waste words on the inanity of chewing and swallowing when my soul has been gutted?

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My life is all about grief right now -- and I don't think that's a bad thing.  To lie to myself and to others, to say that I am fine when I'm not, to rush myself through this [terrifying and painful] growing season would not only be unhealthy, but a waste.  God is using my grief for good -- to heal me, to change me, to make me better, and (hopefully) to help others, especially those walking a similar path.

So I will let my life be all about grief for this season, however long that turns out to be, and leave the oats alone.  I can't go back to who I was, to the naive blogger who photographed all her food -- nor do I want to.

This grief, it is the journey that God has set me on, and I am determined to travel it to its end.

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p.s.  For those of you who are curious about how I made my oatmeal . . . I cooked 1/3 cup oatmeal/oat bran (about half and half of each) over medium heat for 5-7 minutes with 1 sliced-up banana and 2/3 cup vanilla almond milk, then added blueberries, chocolate chips, and a dollop of peanut butter when it was done.

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