My daughter died today. My first born. The child that forever changed my life for the better. At 6:56 pm on Friday, July 17th, 2015, I laid in a hospital bed with my daughter Myesha Raven-Symone, wrapped her in my arms just like the day she was born, said my goodbyes with her sister Chloe, and I gave her back to God. Today marks three years since I endured what would inevitably be the worst day of my life. The fact that three years have gone by already is baffling. Grief has warped my sense of time. My life has changed greatly and with all that I have been through, it is shocking that I have made it this long without her.
There is a hidden misconception that, “all is going to eventually be well”. NEWSFLASH! That’s not how it works. Looking back, I thought the pain of losing my daughter would ease up in year two. Was I in for a heart-wrenching surprise! That second year felt more like a leg sweep and left me feeling at times so empty that I didn’t even know if I was truly alive on some days. I found myself easily staring off in a daze. Following people through the store that looked like her from a distance, like a lunatic. Grief is ugly and plays havoc with our emotions as well as our physical health. I can say I actually felt genuine heart pains at times. Pains that burned in my chest and would take my breath away. A broken heart does exactly what every sappy, sad love song tells us it will, leaving us with a pain that aches in the depths of all that we know. Undeniably, the worst pain anyone will ever have.
When Myesha died, I immediately went into what some would call full-blown shock. I functioned in a daze for months. I too had flat lined over and over again, showing little to no emotions. I cried, but I didn’t sob. I smiled, but I didn’t laugh. Exhausted all of the time. I just wanted to stay in bed with the drapes pulled tight so that not a single ray of light would penetrate the darkness. The same darkness that shadowed the way I was feeling.
As the months rolled on, I began slowly moving out of the fog of everything and facing the hard reality of what had just really happened…
MY DAUGHTER REALLY DID DIE.
Unexpectedly. Young. No warning. Nothing.
I was living the cliche, “Here one day, gone the next”.
I finally stopped kidding myself that she might possibly come walking through that front door. Coming to terms with the fact that she was gone. Accepting the quietness, the emptiness of my house, without her there. All of her photographs still hanging on the walls that are reminders of both her once powerful presence and her now irreversible absence. This was the hard sting slap of reality. This is the new life I am expected to live with without Myesha in it.
So here I am going into year three and I can already feel my grief changing once again. It has quieted some, but the sadness is still there. A sadness that I have mastered the ability to conceal. I can at least talk now about Myesha without tears flowing like a river down my face. The one thing I have not mastered is how to prevent myself from dazing off into my thoughts around others. This I have found to be more of a challenge because I never know when something might cause a trigger and take me away in those memories. It’s moments like these that I battle with myself the most. Feeling like I deserve the sadness, but not wanting to be alone because of how sad the loneliness makes me feel.
Grief has no expiration date. It never fully goes away. It doesn’t mean we will never be happy again, it just means that we will always have a wound on our hearts. Living with grief is a way of remembering and honoring that person. It is not to be dreaded but embraced. There will always be days that are harder than others. Hell, there are still days I feel like quitting. But there is this tiny voice inside of me, that is not my own, that is not like any I have ever heard before, that reminds me that my life is not over and my journey is not yet finished. What I can take away from all of my experiences at this point is that love has no expiration date.
Mommy loves you Myesha. To the Moon and Back Again. Forever In My Heart Friday. FIMHF