Happy New Year! How are you?
And we start again..... the decorations and tree packed away for another year, extended family gone home, kids back at school and normality (whatever that is), returns.... Supermarkets hawking off all the Christmas Chocolate to make way for the fresh batch of Easter Eggs that has just arrived on the back of a 40ft trailer.....slimming world subscription restarted with visions of that bikini bod ready for August, and the rest.......
I asked how you were. Did you say okay, all things considered? Did you say, yes?
Whatever you said, were you telling the truth?
I finally started my healing journey three years ago.... when my mum died... and I can honestly say that today, right now, I'm okay. I feel strong.... I'm hopeful for what the future holds and looking forward to new adventures and new faces.
I appreciate this isn't the case for everyone.
But let me just say, my daughter would be nearly seven.... and I didn't start my healing journey until she would have been four.... that's four years..... four years of what felt like broken glass and lego pieces under my feet.... regularly being prodded by devil's and their forks..... the weight of a pallet of bricks on my shoulders..... the words of judgemental strangers, and family, yes, family, stinging my brain and heart like scolding water..... and it was when my mum died that I decided that I didn't want to be like this anymore..... that was it. I was going to become a person that my daughter would have been proud of. That was my goal. I was going to become the type of person that I needed in my hour of need. So off I set.
I wanted to reach a place in my head that when I thought of my little girl, I thought of her with love and affection. I didn't want to associate her with the court cases and coffins, scattering of ashes and incompetence of medical professionals. I had to let that anger and hurt go. That was the hardest part. My little girl had masses of dark hair. Such chubby chops and rosy cheeks. She was her daddy's double. She was very short, like me, but wide, also like me. We dressed her in pink. Our Rosie. All 9lb 12 1/2 oz of her. 44cm long. Lovely big hands and big feet. A daddy's girl for sure.
By keeping memories like this of her alive in my head helped me dispose of the bad stuff.
I had to learn that it was okay to laugh. I had to learn that it was okay to cry. I had to learn to just be whatever I was at that moment in time. Somethings I found easier to do than others. And I know I have said this before, there is no rule book. 7 years on, something will catch me off guard and I will feel a tear fall.
Once the bad stuff had gone, I had to learn how to deal with the lost things.... like tooth fairy's and new school uniform and Disney movies at the cinema..... We don't just lose our babies, we lose everything that they would have become because of our investment in them. Rosie had cousins, all girls, an auntie.... lot's of girly outings right there. Lost.
Another thing I found particularly hard to cope with is that fact that other people had their own lives to get on with. Ours had come to an abrupt stop. Why was theirs still happening? I had to learn that this is a fact of life, and I really didn't feel any resentment towards anyone. This whole situation wasn't their fault and I couldn't expect them to put their lives on hold for any longer. Their love was enough. I still had that.
Pregnancies being announced and babies being born. Wow. How can you be so happy for someone and so jealous at the same time? I knew my day would come. Just be patient Trace, I'd tell myself. It'll come. And it did. But not in the form of a baby. As God closes a door, he will open a window. Anyone who knows me will see I wasn't built for climbing, and this window was on the hundredth floor of the worlds tallest building, and it was hurricane season, but I climbed out of it and hitched a lift on a passing house...... You get my drift?
If we were all to get together and write a book, there would be no two stories of recovery and healing the same. The only thing we'd have in common, the thing that would be the same, is our battle scars.....
If I could go back seven years to my sore, torn, bewildered and broken self, I would hold her so tight and tell her she will survive this. She's not a victim, she's a mamma bear, a warrior, she can do this, but at her own pace. No-one else's. No pressure. I would tell her that the Lion does not worry over the opinion of a sheep. I would tell her that unless someone has walked a mile in her shoes, then their judgement and opinion is irrelevant to her life. I would tell her it's okay and she will be okay, but life as she knew it will never come back. This is her new life. Life with, but without, Rosie. Her new life with Tim. Keep an eye on him. It'll catch up with him when you've begun your recovery. Spot the signs. Know that you will stand up and be able to help families in this same position. This very same position. Hard to believe, isn't it Trace? I would tell her that the Tracey that emerges from this very cold, lonely, desolate place is gonna be ten foot taller than she was, ten times braver, wiser, calmer.... but before we get there Trace, there's a mountain you've got to climb that's bigger and more rugged than any mountain you've ever seen..... and you're gonna feel like you're alone for most of it.....but once you reach that peak, you'll feel like one of the 300 Spartan's.... invincible. Strong. Survivor. Warrior. But there's no rush. In your own time.
Yeah. That's what I'd say to me. And to you.
Lots of love,