Day 21. Myths – My grief is ever changing. While my emotions are not constantly as raw as they were in the first year of loss, there are still days where grief will present itself intensely. Grief will always be planted within my heart. Whether my actions or face show it, it will always be present. Sometimes barely noticeable (even for myself) and other times raging and uncontainable. It is a myth that time heals everything. Time will not take my grief away, nor will it make my heart miss my daughter less. Grieve does change, but it will never be replaced as the years pass.
Day 22. Empathy – For obvious reasons, I think a little empathy wouldn’t hurt to gain a better understanding of grief, but I don’t particularly think it is the key to bridging the gap between the bereaved and non-bereaved. I never want anyone to feel the way I have felt the last 19 months. I don’t think any bereaved parent would wish this life on another person. I also don’t think a person necessarily needs empathy to be compassionate towards a person who is going through something really tough. I think society has molded us to keep our grief to ourselves. We are taught that there is a time to mourn and that there is a time to move on. Unfortunately, that is just not how it works. There is no timeline to grief and many are left to mourn behind doors where no-one is watching. On multiple different occasions, I have tried to look back on the old Charmel… How did I treat others going through really tough situations? What did I think when I interacted with them or how did I interact with them? The answer to most of my questions was that I would avoid talking to them about their loss. Why? Because I thought bringing up the topic would make them sad or that it would make the moment awkward. What I have now learned is that bringing up Emilia with me won’t make me anymore sad than what I already am. I’m already thinking about Emilia whether we are talking about her or not. Talking to me about Emilia and about how she died shows me that you care. And to be honest, I absolutely love talking about her. I think the “key” to bridging the gap lies within a societal change. Teaching people that it is absolutely okay to talk about the somewhat sensitive subjects of life for the bereaved, to be supportive (even months after their loss), and not rush them to ‘get over’ something that they absolutely will never get over.
Day 23. Mortality – Death no longer scares me. It’s not that I actively search for death, but if tomorrow I were to die I would be okay with knowing where I am going. The selfish part of me cannot wait to go to Heaven. I wish the day would come sooner. I have learned that earth is laced with an inescapable pain. To die and go to Heaven would free me of all the sadness and pain that I feel from day to day. I cannot imagine living another 50 years without Emilia with me. To go to Heaven would mean I would be reunited with her for eternity. But until then, I fully intend to try my best to enjoy life here on earth with my husband and my other two living daughters. If not for me, then I plan to live it to the fullest for Emilia. I am happy with the mark that I have left on our world, but I will continue to do more in Emilia’s name until my day comes to join her.
Day 24. Courage – At first I tried to hide my vulnerabilities. I think most people try to put on a good face for others. Nobody wants people to think that they don’t have their life put together. I remember forcing myself to move right along in the public light. I didn’t want people to treat me differently and also knew that life was going to continue on whether I wanted it to or not. As time has gone on I have been more transparent with my grief. I’ve grown to a point where I don’t care what people think. To better describe it, I have just learned to own my life story — All the highs and all the low points too. I have owned my grief and embraced life for what it is now. I have also realized that the more transparent I am, the more people will know that it is normal to be vulnerable. It’s not something to be ashamed and embarrassed by and all of us have moments of insecurities whether we admit it or not. Everyone will feel the pain of grief from loss, so there is no point in hiding it from others. I hope my transparency has touched at least one other person and helped them realize that even though their own life might be currently messy, it’s still just as beautiful too.
Day 25. Who – There are four people who have been there for me not just when I had really HIGH highs, but also during the really LOW lows. My husband — he knows firsthand how gut-wrenching it is to have lost Emilia and to live each day without her. If there is anyone who knows exactly how I feel it is him. He has also sacrificed so much in the last 1.5 years for me and our family. My sister — she is my best friend. My rock. My safe place. And the person I lean on for everything. Although over a thousand miles separate us, we manage to talk to each other almost every single day. I don’t know what I would do without her. My mom — she has been supportive of me and Emilia’s Wings from the very start. Her and my dad were one of the first and only people to drive to Kansas City to be there for the birth of Emilia. My parents don’t treat Emilia as if she is something that happened. They recognize her as one of their 12 grandchildren. A dear friend — we went separate ways shortly after high school, but Emilia’s death brought us back together. She reached out for me and made sure I was on my feet the whole first year after Emilia died. We continue to talk and I would truly be lost without her. I am forever grateful to have her back in my life. Thank you all for being a source of light during a very dark time in my life and for continuing to lend support while I still grieve Emilia’s death.
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