At My Funeral… Don’t Cry

Each of us has moments in our life that demand every ounce of courage and strength we have, and then some. Most of us glide through life under the assumption that everything’s going to be just fine.  And we work hard to make it so.  But for some of us, inevitably something in life happens that changes everything. Plans have suddenly been derailed. As the world around us comes to a screeching halt, life continues on with or without us.

With that comes that time of year when most try to enjoy the warmer weather and start “spring cleaning”. Well, let me confess I have grown to dread it. So I just stopped doing it. Avoiding it. Dust is now my friend. Why?  Because every old toy, blanket, bike, clothes, etc., that belonged to Myesha is nothing more than a reminder of a moment in time, that I realize now, I took for granted and will never get back.  Never.  It brings me to tears with every piece of baby clothes, every hand made gifts she made me in school, the handwriting of hers on her papers, as I’m left grasping to hold on to EVERYTHING because it’s all that’s left.  Just stuff. Stuff that no one else is even going to want when I’m gone except for her brother and sister. It truly turns one into what some would refer to as a “horder”.  A horder with only gut wrenching memories of what once was with a child whose life was taken away so suddenly and tragically. In these moments we are a clear observer of an unfiltered experience and our soul is moved to a deep abiding awareness of how things really are.  The suffering and the joy.

As a grieving mother we have every right to act as our instints guide us.  All too often bereaved parents end up trying to fit in to what they feel is expected of them, rather than doing what feels right to the in the days, weeks and months after. All of the superficial noise and static of the world fades away and we have been touched at the very core of our being. Standing in the ashes of our plans, heartsick and face to face with risks, doubts, dangers, and possibilities that lurk in the fine print. As a result we are more aware of the frailty of life.  We become stronger and more sure of ourselves.

When a child dies it goes against every grain in our psyche. It’s not the natural order of things and we know it’s not how the world was meant to be. Life around us doesn’t stop. We find ways to keep going day to day in hopes that for just one day we can wake up and feel “normal”. Feeling guilty for having moments of happiness that seem undeserving because the child we so dearly loved is now gone. That in those moments where the memories don’t bring us to tears, that we can move forward day to day without feeling guilty. Trying to hide our real feelings. We fold our grief into ourselves and make it an integral part of who we are now.

Because we have hit the bottom, we’ve gone to the lowest place you can go. If we are lucky we might still find something solid beneath our feet so that we eventually can find a way to climb out again. They say there is a reason that our lives are fated the way they are. But that doesn’t make those grieving feel any better. The truth about survival is far more empowering and positive than is generally understood. So at my funeral don’t cry, there’s a part of me that’s been dead for a long time. Instead, celebrate in the remembrance of how I hopefully took my grief, what’s left of my life, and continued to find a way to inspire those around me, in some small way…..