It would be so easy for me to become an angry, bitter person right now. Everyday I can feel like I am teetering on the edge of a deep, dark pit filled with "woe is me" and "I hate the world" sentiments. Sometimes I am so close to diving in, head-first, and getting lost in those ugly, murky waters; swimming around in my sorrows. Usually, though, before I can fall in, someone or something grabs me by the hand and pulls me away from the edge. A friend, calling just to "check-in" and see how I'm doing. My mom, taking an extra-long break to take me out to lunch. The dogs, jumping up and licking me all over my face. Dad, making me amazing homemade guacamole and trying his best to make me laugh. The pepper plants out on the deck, popping up and growing bigger and bigger everyday. A fellow "baby loss" sister, leaving an encouraging comment on this blog.
There are days, like today, where I would love nothing more than to jump into that pit of bitterness. But I know I need to keep reaching out and grabbing onto the hands that want to help me, because once you're in that pit, it's so hard to get back out.
Not allowing myself to fall into that pit, to let your death turn me into an angry, bitter person, is a constant, daily struggle. I have to "check myself" all the time. When I find myself in one of "those moods" (many of you know exactly what I'm talking about, I'm sure), I have to consciously ask myself, "Hey, is this the kind of person you want to be? Is this the kind of person your daughter would want you to be?"
I know I have every right to be angry. I have every right to be bitter. I'm not saying there aren't moments and even entire days where I am both. But I refuse to let those feelings consume me and define who I am as a person. I refuse to let your life and death turn me into a person that I don't like. You deserve better than that, Baby.
I used to think that when people went through tragedies and emerged better, stronger people, it was just something that "happened." Right after you died, I remember thinking, "well, at least I'll end up a better person because of this," totally thinking I would just magically be transformed or something. I know now that's not how it works. It's a choice. I can choose to let your death defeat me, or I can choose to let your death make me stronger. I can choose to stay stuck in my sadness, focusing on all the bad that has come from your tragic death, or I can choose to try and make some good come from your beautiful life. These are choices I have to make, every single day.
There is a song I've been listening to quite a bit the last month or so. It's written by Steven Curtis Chapman, a Christian singer I grew up listening to as a kid. He wrote this song a few months after his five-year-old daughter, Maria, died after being accidentally run over by her older brother's SUV while playing on the driveway. The chorus of the song goes:
"Out of these ashes, beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins, we will see it with our own eyes"
Out of this darkness, new light will shine
For we know the joy that's coming in the morning
Beauty will rise."
I don't think I'm quite at the point where I am ready to do any dancing (literally or figuratively!) around your death, but this song has become almost like a "battle cry" for me. I can't promise that I will never be angry about your death. I can't promise I'll never be bitter. But Stevie, I promise you your life and death will not be in vain. I promise you I will choose to do everything in my power to find and embrace the beauty you have brought into my life, and into the world.
I promise people will look back and say, "wow, look at all that has come from that little Stevie girl's life." You have so much more to accomplish, Baby girl. There is so much beauty, just waiting to rise up from the ashes. I just know it.
I love you so much. I promise I will make you proud to call me your mommy.
Always and forever,
April 22nd: Saturday Sharefest
22 hours ago