GRIEF + GRATITUDE

23 June 2017

My own artwork which proves that I draw like my preschooler does.

I lost 2 children, one at 9 weeks pregnant and the other at 23 weeks old. My grief is about my babies, most especially the one I met and held in my arms. The one who we waited for long and came but stayed only so briefly. The one who's forever changed me. THOMAS.

Grief is painful, that's textbook. It's not often talked about because it could be a generation thing or a belief thing or just plain coping mechanism. But you see, neither can you escape it nor hurry it.

Grief comes in waves. Sometimes you can stand through them and other times it hits you so hard and it eats you up, and you tumble and roll in it and before you know it, you're dragged in the deep end. It normally takes you somewhere calmer if it hasn't dumped you broken and you float with your head above water as your legs work hard to keep you that way. You're normally alone too in your own grief because the way you deal with it is different than the others.

Grief is ugly. It brings out the worst in you. You question everything, your faith, your God, your universe, your tribe, your village, yourself. Why my baby? But then you don't really wish it on any other baby but you still ask why anyway. You question everyone's intentions. Are they really sincere or is it just pity? Are they really concerned about you or are they tired of hearing your stories about your dead child? Are they really a friend or someone who thinks you deserve everything you've been given. Are they really there for you or is it just something they say to make themselves feel better?

Grief makes you play the victim. It makes you turn everything about yourself without you realising it. Was it my fault? Is this my penance? What could have I possibly done to deserve this? What did I do? What did I not do? Me! Me! Me! It makes you sick in your stomach that you even thought that it's all about you when it's really not. It's not about me. I am hurting, yes, but I am not a victim of life.

Grief makes you over sensitive, almost angry at anything. You become easily offended by the things you read, hear and see. When you hear someone complaining about having woken up at 4am by their child, you want to shake them and tell them to stop complaining and to bloody well enjoy it. When you read something online about "grieving the loss of the baby years because the child is now in school", you almost want to fight. Fight what? Fight the right to claim the word "grieving" should only belong to the bereaved. Fight to say, pick another word to use please because your child is alive and well. When you see someone juggles life with multiple kids and find more bad than good about the life they're building, it makes you want to just scream for them shut up and stop talking. You don't know what you're talking about!

Grief makes you guilty. You feel guilty when you don't cry and yet you feel huge guilt for crying too much. You feel guilty for thinking of something else and yet feel guilty for only thinking about your angel. You feel guilty for having fun or even for smiling but yet you feel guilty if you don't do it.

Grief makes you compassionate about others who are not grieving the same loss as you. It's not easy when you're consumed by the sadness that it comes with, but when that break in the clouds happen and you see sunlight through even for just a minute, you feel gratitude. It makes you so thankful that whatever they are complaining about, no matter how trivial, is still the hardest thing that's happened to them at that given moment and you want it to stay that way. You're thankful that the love they have for their child is so strong that even if they are alive and well they still feel some form of a loss of the baby years. You feel thankful for big families who juggle life the way they know how and still stay very honest about the ups and downs of raising a family. It's not easy. It's not always aha moments. Parenting is hard work. It's not hard, it's hard work, that's the difference.

Gratitude is everywhere today when I woke up. Oprah said it in a video that I am sure I was meant to see. I feel grateful and lifted because I hear my windchimes chiming away as I type this post. I feel inspired to paint and I did. It may look like an art made by my 4 year old but hey, I did something new today. I am still withdrawn to the outside world and pretty much stay at home to let myself feel.

I am grateful that my Thomas touched so many lives in his short lifetime. I am grateful that my William was part of that legacy. It was them on that photo that showed the world what love means. I am grateful for my family for always being there, through our differences we are united in love. I am grateful for the my true friends for giving us space and at the same be at our doorstep when we need them. I am grateful for my husband because this is our for better or for worse. I can only wish that our future will have better things to come and I do pray that one day we can smile wholeheartedly again. I am grateful for my windchimes, a very thoughtful gift by a family in US. Each time it creates the beautiful sound I smile.

Gratitude and Grief go hand in hand, and it means more to me when I can find things to be grateful for despite of everything. I am trying hard everyday to find these little things and when I do I grab them and soak in it even for just a minute. Gratitude bursts.

One day at a time.

6 comments :

  1. ausência
    Hei de edificar a vasta vida
    que mesmo agora é teu espelho:
    toda manhã hei de reconstruí-la.
    Desde que te afastaste,
    tantos lugares se tornaram inúteis
    e sem sentido, como
    luzes no dia.
    Tardes que foram nicho de tua imagem,
    músicas em que sempre me esperavas,
    palavras daquele tempo,
    eu terei de quebrá-las com minhas mãos.
    Em que profundezas esconderei minha alma
    para que não enxergue tua ausência
    que como um sol terrível, sem ocaso,
    brilha definitiva e impiedosa?
    Tua ausência me cerca...

    (Jorge Luis Borges, 1923)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful text,you are a special person and you can be proud of your kids,little Thomas is not lost he is in a better place and you will meet him one day ,i love your family and pray for you <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow Sheryl, this is written so beautifully, it is truly touching! I have never felt a grief even close to what you have gone through, but I found myself nodding along with every line, holding back the tears as they started stinging my eyes! It was so raw... so honest... in a way, so beautiful... Thomas was so lucky to have had you! Wishing you and your family all the best xx

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

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  5. I hear and feel ye. Every word so true. Helped me to read this today, think I was meant to. It was like someone read my thoughts and feelings and put them into words and now I know I'm not mad to have those thoughts. Huge love xxx

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