I've learned a lot about grief in the last 6 months. It comes in cycles, and once you are past one stage, you are not free from ever revisiting that stage. The stages aren't evenly timed, and can be triggered at unexpected intervals. It's been painful, and yet, weirdly fascinating (maybe I should have pursued that psychology minor I toyed around with).
I have emerged confident, yet cautious; strong, yet vulnerable. I like the person I have become, and though I grieve the life that would have been with Addison, am grateful for the refining her loss has brought in my life.
The best advice someone gave me, a month after the other shoe dropped, was to see a counselor. I was strangely fixated on what bad thing God might ask me to endure next, and my sister in law said, "Do you think maybe you should talk to someone about that?" It was such a simple question, but gave me pause to think, "Huh, maybe."
And then it was the friend who said, "I hear you keep saying things like, 'I thought I was okay, but then...' Have you considered that you might not be okay, and that's okay?"
I had to embrace the loss. I had to speak her name. I had to cry in front of people.
And then I had to share my story.
Looking back on the last month, I cannot even comprehend all the opportunities God has given me to speak boldly about grief, loss, suffering, and, of course, where God fits in to it all. I have learned that JOY and GRATEFULNESS can co-exist with GRIEF and PAIN... and that beautiful tension keeps me pressing into my savior for comfort and hope and thanksgiving.
I find myself grappling with big philosophical things like TRUTH. I have no time for niceties that come from well meaning people in The Church - in fact I think there's a lot of junk we've been accepting as Truth, and then when our hearts are broken, we are wrecked emotionally and spiritually because what was thought was God maybe actually wasn't, and our focus was on the wrong or misinterpreted promises.
The is only the beginning of a new chapter. But I like how it's starting. I trust Him more, and yet have a healthy amount of questioning for Him, and lots of room to be taught and to gain understanding. I am not going anywhere, and neither is He.
And, as a point of healing, yesterday I held a brand new baby and ENJOYED it. I snuggled her and smelled her head and changed her diaper and gave her a bunch of Addison's headbands, and didn't feel even a pang of grief or sadness.
Thank you for supporting me, friends. This has been a year I will never forget, and I know you have held us up in prayer and love when we were at our weakest. I love you for that.