Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The journey of resilience

I think bereaved parents are the epitome of resiliency.  What’s important to understand, though, is we must be gentle on ourselves and realize resiliency is as much a journey as grieving is.  There are times when we can break through the ground and begin to rise upward.  However, there are times when we are smacked back down and wave our little white flag to the name of grief.  We can’t live in the triumphant moments all the time – our grief, love, and longing for our babies is just too strong. 

Feeling the hurt is part of the resiliency journey because somehow, despite these feelings, we find a way to GO ON.  Not move on – but simply go on.  To eat, to get out of bed, to keep our careers moving forward, to care for ourselves and those in our lives who depend on our care.  This is resiliency.   Despite the heaviness of grief, life still awaits us.  And we choose to face it.  We have to figure out how to live despite having met death. 

Yesterday, I had a very intense collision of joy and deep sorrow.  I started my day strong in the wake of resilience, dedicating my day to two very important projects in Quinn’s honor.  I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the projects that the joy of them powerfully collided with my deep sorrow and longing.  I was left beat down on the ground, surrendering my white flag to grief. 

Just as my being processed the grandiosity, meaning, and beauty of the projects, I was hit on each side by joy and sorrow simultaneously.  Why do we even have to do these projects, I thought.  All I want is to have you back.  But look at what a difference we are making because of you.  All of this beauty is because of you.  I had sustained my resiliency as long as I could, but yesterday, the grief won.  I still call myself resilient though, because today, I woke up and am trying to figure out how to live in this world as a bereaved parent all over again. 

You can’t fight the grief all the time.  Even when you are weak you are still strong, because you are on this journey and surviving each day.  Following moments of surrender, there are moments of resiliency - when we pick ourselves back up.  These two daily inspirations speak this roller coaster:
Stillborn grief quote
It’s OK to not be OK
Stillborn grief quote
The best thing to do when the grief is raw and overwhelming is to honor it
Mary Whitmore Hickman, author of “Healing After Loss,” once again hit the nail on the head.  You can’t fight the grief and suppress it.  You won’t win!  When it comes, honor it.  You can only be true to yourself and to honor your feelings at that moment.  For me, that might mean being alone to cry, talking to someone who understands, or if at work, giving myself permission to close my office door for a minute to feel it – accept it – and move forward with my day. 

Tomorrow, in the name of resiliency, we’ll do it all over again.    

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