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This is a brief look at what grief looks like five years later. Just over five years ago, my life was forever changed, and not in the way I had imagined.
Some of you reading this will know our story very well, others of you will not. One day, I may write it out in more detail but for now, I will say this.
In December 2014 I was 8 months pregnant with our second child, with a due date of January 2, 2015. I remember full well posting a picture of myself on my personal Instagram with the caption "We did it! We made it to 37 weeks! Hurray for a full-term baby this time." (Our eldest child was born early, so having a full-term baby was exciting!)
On December 24, 2014, I delivered a stillborn beautiful baby boy at 38 weeks 5 days. Our lives have forever changed. And we celebrate our little #babycolingregory every Christmas eve with a little birthday party!
You Are Not Alone, But Your Story Is Your Own
One thing I have noticed about grief is the categories we are put into after a loved one has passed away. Whether you are grieving a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, child, or spouse. We can relate to one another through our similarities. Sometimes bonds are formed because we have gone through a similar loss.
I have experienced hurt and healing in knowing I am not alone. Healing from knowing that I am not the only one who has experienced loss. Hurt from my baby being placed into a category instead of being seen as an individual.
Whether it is you who is grieving or a friend, know that you are not alone, but that your story and your loved ones are unique and special. And their individual story is important and valued.
Don't Dwell On The 'What If'
This is HUGE!
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."Job 1:21
This is the verse on our son's gravestone. When we first learned about his passing from the nurse at the hospital, this is the verse that popped into my head. And this is the verse I have clung to ever since.
Knowing that Colin's life is from the Lord, that the Lord, gave him life, and took it away, this allows all the 'what if' questions to disappear.
This doesn't mean I didn't run through all the 'what if' scenarios in my head at one time or another. But that when a 'what if' presents itself I can rest in the knowledge that God is in control of my life and that there is a plan! I have had a lot of different people ask me...
"What if you had gotten to the hospital sooner?"
"What if you took that test?"
"What if you changed your diet?"
No 'what if' is going to change God's plan. Don't entertain the 'what if' in your life, completely ignore it, rest in what did happen and start your healing journey from there.
You, Will, Have Triggers
After five years of dealing and living with grief, I have come to be aware of what triggers my grief. Having said this, there are always moments that catch me off guard.
I have a running list in my head of things that I know will trigger grief for me. Sometimes I can use this to avoid a possible unpleasant conversation or situation. Other times I can use the knowledge of my triggers to work through the pain I am feeling.
Study God's Word
This is not easy, especially when you are in the midst of unbearable pain. But studying God's word has saved me time and time again. I have gone through times of in-depth, very challenging study. I have also gone through many times when the only contact with God's word I have is from the verses I have committed to memory.
Everyone grieves differently, and whether you are reading this to help understand your grief, or someone else's, just know we are all different. This is what grief looks like five years later, for me.
So Grief is like this
There is a ball in a box with a pain button. In the beginning, the ball is huge. You can't move without the ball hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over. You can't control it- it just keeps hurting. Sometimes it seems unrelenting.
Over time, the ball gets smaller. It hits the button less and less but when it does, it hurts just as much. It's better because you can function day to day more easily. But the downside is that the ball randomly hits that button when you least expect it.
For most people, the ball never really goes away. It might hit less and less and you have more time to recover between hits, unlike when the ball was still giant.
[Sourced from Lauren Herschel on Twitter]
This is the best way I have ever heard grief described. This little description actually encouraged me to share a little of my grief story in hopes that others will know they are not alone.
I hope to one day elaborate on our story, but for now, I hope my five-year journey has brought some comfort to you. Below I have listed some of my favourite resources for studying my bible.
I was not one to look for books related specifically to my grieve, instead, I just focused on learning more about who God is. The last book on the list is actually written by a family friend of Greg's. Greg and his family's story is also shared in this book as well. (This is another story altogether that maybe he will choose to share)