I had started to contemplate what is still positive in my life (my marriage, my job, my core group of friends) and the positives that have been created from my loss. The latter is hard to swallow because I don't want to acknowledge that anything positive has come out my my son's death, but in reality it has. A fellow BLM, Karen said it perfectly,
"Lately, I have also been having more positive moments of actually seeing the loss as giving me the gift of new friendships, the gift of appreciation for things I would have taken for granted in the past, the gift of wanting to bring more awareness to our cause, the gift to be more open about death, the gift of compassion (with an intense desire to want to "pay it forward" by helping and supporting others who have gone through this type of loss), etc. "
All of this is true in my own life as it is in hers. She just expressed it so eloquently. I honestly had taken my marriage for granted before becoming pregnant. Once, I became pregnant with Silas I saw how amazing of a man and future daddy I had married. After Silas died, our love for each other grew even stronger. It is only in this great tragedy that we have seen how much love we have for each other and I have become aware that the man I married will stick by my side through thick and thin. He has been so patient with my grief process, always encouraging me to express myself, to walk, to yell, to hit, to cry, whatever feels right for me. He has shared his own grief by crying and being vulnerable, by not being afraid to talk about our son and sharing his sadness. This has made me feel so less alone.
I never imagined that I would establish such amazing friendships with other BLMs that live locally and all over the world. There are only a few that I feel truly close too, but they have been so amazingly supportive to me. They have reached out to me in times when I needed that extra support. They have listened, counseled, shared, comforted, cried, outraged, consoled, yelled, and so much more with me throughout these past 3 months. They have not coward away when I have shown the uglier sides of myself and the darkest moments of my grief. It is amazing that through our shared experience we can bond so deeply in such a short amount of time.
I have also been surprised by those RL friends who have been there for me through this as well. Over the weekend, I vacationed with friends, some who have been around through these months and others who have not really, but I felt with them that I could truly be myself. Before going, I was nervous about how I was going to be around them, what I could share, what I couldn't, what I really even wanted from them. I thought that for them to be "good friends" and support me I had to be comfortable breaking down in front of them, crying, etc. But, I realized when I was there that that is not what I want from them or what I need. I know that I prefer crying and falling apart privately (or online to my BLM friends). What I found so amazing about these friends is the way they unknowingly supported me by allowing me to talk and by talking with me about Silas and my pregnancy without question. They were completely comfortable, not any signs of them being uncomfortable: awkward silences, looks, etc. They were completely open to talking about my pregnancy even joking about some of it, talking about Silas, my volunteering with Faces of Loss, etc. And, not in a serious, deep way, but just talking. Maybe mentioning something in passing. It was amazing that my pregnancy, my loss, my son was an okay topic to discuss or not discuss. I had no idea what I needed until I was there. I tried talking about it to see if it would be okay and how they would react and they were wonderful. It allowed me to relax and really enjoy myself knowing that they weren't trying to shove my loss under the table, but recognizing it and being open to listen and share as if it was any other topic of discussion that could have been had. They have no idea how much that means to me. I had no idea until this weekend.
I feel so blessed to have all of the love and support. This too I must have taken for granted. I had no idea how many people cared about my husband, me, Silas until he passed away. I have been constantly surprised by those who have reached out in such amazing ways. It has made such an impact on us. I know that this journey would be so much more unbearable without all of the love and support that has been showered upon us. Sometimes, I forget or am unable to recognize how much support we have because my grief is so strong and no amount of support will take it away. But, when those darkest times pass, I can see that the love is there.
Lastly, like Karen I have found such a passion to support other women in this community, to "pay it forward", and to spread awareness. It is so deep in me to give back, to help change the medical system to better support the 1 in 4 women who will experience this type of loss. Since, I have started giving back my grief has changed significantly. So much of my anguish has been channeled and focused in outreach and volunteering projects. It has helped to know that something positive can come from my son's death. He saved another child or twos life by donating his heart and I will continue his legacy by helping others in whatever way that I can and to ensure (as much as I can) that women who experience child loss have the support that they need.
So although it is sometimes hard to wrap my head around the fact that positive things can come out of something so tragic, they have and I am grateful for it. I wish with every ounce of my being that my son was here and I would trade these good things in a heartbeat (his heartbeat) for him to be here, but he is gone and I am not. I have to continue to live and I deserve to have good things and to do good things. I know that is what my son would want for me.
Have you been able to recognize positive things in your life that emerged after or because of your loss?