The next two days for me each year are the hardest days to push through. The days leading up to today are filled with random flashbacks of these next 48 hours. Its almost as if I watch myself in some sort of drama movie, where the scenes flash quickly and sharply into a subconscious sub script. That becomes real life. Like driving down the road on my way to dance and out of no where while sitting at a red light my mind instantly replays the moment, we gave Olivia her last kiss goodbye. Why? What even could have possibly triggered this? The mind is a powerful tool but can also be a weapon. In most of my encounters with moms they all want to know and ask the same thing…. Does this pain ever get better? I cannot count how many times I have been asked this. My answer typically stays the same. Yes and No. Laugh, because that is not an answer, right? Yes, and no. Yes, it does get better, on most days, but no, because it will NEVER go away. It will be six years tonight at 9:22pm that my life forever changed. Six years since the person I was, left. There is a lot I know for certain from these six years. Most of which starts from that night. I know that we cannot ever move past trauma and loss such as this, if we do not accept it. Let me tell you how incredibly hard it is to accept something like that. For me, it has taken quite a while to accept Olivia’s loss, to accept hers, mine and our fate; and truth be told, there are still times where I truly question if I have fully accepted it or not. I have learned that the pain will never go away. It becomes dampened as you travel through your grieving process and become closer to acceptance, BUT even when you least expect it, like at a random red light, it will come back. I have learned to be a kinder, gentler person. I have learned that everyone grieves and deals differently with loss. This is important. As humans we want to project our feelings and learnings onto others, mostly in an effort to help them heal. I have watched it time and time again and personally experienced it myself where you are told how to ‘deal with it’ or ‘move on from it’, “don’t do this”, “you should really do that”. I have learned that this is your (my) journey. Only you know what’s inside of you and what may or may not work best for you. Sometimes, we need help. Help is ok to seek out. I have learned that you need to talk about your baby and your experience. Do not hold it back. Talking and sharing our story helps us process which ultimately helps us accept.
So what does all of this mean? Well, I think that everything above talks about us being vulnerable. Allowing our most sensitive and vulnerable parts of who we are to be exposed. I used to think this makes one weak. Nope, I was totally wrong. This makes us courageous. This gives us the courage to accept, to grow and to make something so awful into something beautiful. I have witnessed so much courage in these last five years watching this organization grow. Courage from the moms pressing through such an unimaginable time, nurses courageously caring for these moms and dads, random courageous strangers stepping up and becoming volunteer photographers. I am a complete type A, so I can read something, research something, oh and a little stubborn as well, so I usually must experience something for myself to fully buy in or believe it. I say this, because, six years ago I would totally debate the whole vulnerable and courage belief thing and say its being weak to some degree. However, life came in and showed my type A who is boss. Six years ago I was terrified of death. I struggled to even have to go to a wake or funeral. It completely numbed me from the inside out. If someone told me six years ago I would be holding, photographing and caring for a lifeless baby, my stubbornness would kick in and I would fight to the high heavens that there would be absolutely no way. Again, life came knocking on my door. And in my most vulnerable of moments, somewhere, somehow, I found courage that I truly had no idea existed in me. That courage to do the unthinkable for me, to do it in Olivia’s name; that has truly unfolded my life tenfold. It is certain proof that being vulnerable makes us courageous and gives us a whole new perspective on life. I know that as my life continues on, so will my courage, and courage is what will help me keep my head up high these next 48 hours. I also know that anyone reading this, whether you have had a loss yourself or not, can grow from any traumatic experience you may have had in life. I cannot guarantee that it will be easy. In fact, I think I can guarantee that it may be one of the hardest things in life you will do, but it will also be the most rewarding. That is when I am certain you will see that life truly does unfold in direct proportion to your courage! Much love today and always……… ~Olivia’s Mommy.