Good Grief~

I've always been pretty transparent with my feelings to my friends. Seven years ago my life changed drastically, and has led me down paths I never thought I would go. I've changed a lot in those 7 years, my heart has softened in so many areas, and my beliefs have been enlightened, my soul grown stronger and my spirit braver. I can look back and see God's hand in every part at each time. When my marriage dissolved, I cried to God through my tears to at least make this heartache worth it, that if I helped even one person going through the same thing, it would be worth it. When my daughter was struggling with her addiction, my heart was opened to the horrible disease, and my understanding became greater. Where I once looked upon addicts and their families with pity and disdain, God showed me compassion in a way I never would have chosen, but He knew it would be effective. That experience also allowed me to help others going through the same struggles, and showed me that my daughter wasn’t a bad person, she just had a bad disease. Praise God she has been clean and sober over 2 years now and is living a wonderfully blessed life. When we found out she was pregnant with Harper, and subsequently found out about his heart/birth defects, my heart opened even more. I was able to have empathy for all of those people I'd ever seen struggling with a medically fragile baby. Then when we lost him-my heart shattered. This big ole heart, so full of God's lessons and compassion for others just plain broke. My health failed on and off over the last year, for the first time in my working life I missed an unprecedented amount of work. Some mornings I could barely breathe, much less get out of the bed. Some nights I would lie in the bed, expecting God to take me at any moment because the pain in my heart was so real and bad. Nuclear stress tests, EKG's, ultrasounds of my heart , chest x-rays and ct scans showed nothing. NOTHING. I'd never had high blood pressure, but after Harper passed, several months later my feet and ankles started to swell, and my breathing was still labored with little exertion. I decided to change doctors, and he immediately ordered an echocardiogram. It showed hardening on the left side, and he said this would be what was causing my swelling. It's irreversible, and a problem I had never had. None of the other tests found it, but this doctor did. My heart is broken. Still, and forevermore. It's not visible to others, it's hard to even diagnose, but it's there. I know that it will keep on ticking, and absorbing God's love and lessons, but I wonder what will happen the next time I lose a loved one.
It's been a very lonely year. I've fallen into a rut, emotionally and professionally. I've worked the same shift for 28 years, and for the last year my nights have been the hardest time for me emotionally. So in light of this, I asked my manager to change my hours and they approved it. I would rather work evenings, and have my days free to enjoy the sunlight, fresh air and be able to do what I love most with my camera. People say "See a counselor!", "go to a support group for grief!", well, I've done those things. Talking to the psychologist who never knew Harper, knows nothing about me and had no real idea what I was going thru only pissed me off. The groups don't help, because in this stage of grief, I don't want to HAVE to be anywhere and talk about it. Sometimes it's too exhausting to even talk about it. I have chosen to use the medicines my doctor has recommended for now to help me over this hump, for however long it may take. I have only a few friends who regularly check on me, and I get it. It's hard to relate to someone who's been thru something you have no clue about. I am okay with that, I have to be. I know my God is a mighty God, and He has provided me with the small tribe necessary to keep me going, a job I love and co-workers I love even more, and a beautiful place to live and explore. I don't want pity, I am not asking for it. I only express these feelings to you to let you know that it's okay to grieve. Grief is good, God gave it to us for a reason. The stronger the grief, the deeper the love. It's okay to cry, hurt, sleep, eat that ice cream you think might take the edge off, sing at the top of your lungs with tears streaming down your face, take the happy pills-but DO SOMETHING! Do what works for you, what helps keep your head above the raging sea of waves that come when you least expect it. Do it for yourself, and do it to honor the memory and bravery of your lost loved one, because you know they wouldn't want you to be sad forever. Thank you to my tribe, and those special ones who "get it" and will listen to me cry when I just can't hold it back anymore. Thank you to my beautiful daughter, the strongest mommy I know, for her beautiful gift to us all. He truly was the best thing that ever happened to us all!
Love you~

(Picture by the amazing Selena Stoney)


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