Grieving is so hard and can be so much work. Only a year into it, I have learned that it requires so much of you, often when you have nothing to give. Even though its the hardest thing I have ever done, good has come out of it. I was reflecting this weekend on some of the blessings I have received since this grief came into my life. Here are the top ten in no particular order:
1. A better marriage- we are stronger b/c of our loss. We know each other at a whole different level. I honestly could never imagine going through this with anyone other than Nathan. He has been my rock and together we have gotten each other through the darkness.
2. I don't sweat the small stuff. I don't care as much about what people think of me. I see more of the "big picture" of life and can usually let the small things slide by a lot easier.
3. I'm not the planner I used to be. I'm more laid back and flexible. Plans are for people in control and I have learned that I really have no control over things.
4. I am comfortable with failure. I used to think that the effort you put into something would equal the outcome. Turns out that isn't always true. Sometimes things go terribly wrong even when you do everything right. Sometimes you fail for no good reason and I'm more comfortable with that than I used to be.
5. My friendships have grown, changed, and rearranged. I am able to go deeper with people. I have met some incredible women in the baby loss world and I am thankful for their friendships. Overall, I'm less obsessive about my friendships. I've learned that there are seasons with friends. I try to take what I can get and savor each moment when those seasons come and go.
6. I let others take care of me more. This was something I struggled with before grief. I did not like to be the weak one. I didn't want to be the one who needed help, I wanted to be the one giving help. I have had to literally let people take care of our every need this past year (still are needing people-even after a year!). From meals, to money, to you name it- we have had to have help with it all. And it has been humbling to know that sometimes we cannot take care of ourselves. It has taught me to be a gracious recipient and that sometimes the most charitable thing you can do it to let someone help you.
7. I have more compassion than I ever thought possible. I am not a naturally compassionate person. I was always more of a "suck it up and get on with it," kind of person. At the beginning of my pregnancy with Caleb I asked God for compassion. And He answered me! Now I have compassion for people that makes me want to cry with them. I am much more understanding with others weaknesses. I just know that life is hard and you can't always "suck it up and get on with it." Thank you Jesus for compassion.
8.I am a better mom. I appreciate Abigail and am so thankful for her. Losing Caleb has also made me a better mom because I know Abigail isn't mine. She belongs to God and He can take her back whenever He chooses. I don't want that of course, but its the reality that I accept. Each night before I go to bed I ask God for just one more day with Abigail and that she would bury me. I'm able to understand better the whole "letting your child go," part of parenting. Since I have lived through it, I know what it feels like to give one of your children back to the Lord. I would never want to do that again, but the reality is there that it could happen and because of that I feel like I am a better mom.
9.I'm not scared of death. I want to go to Heaven more than ever before. Knowing that Caleb is in Heaven and waiting for me makes it seem not as scary. It makes death seem like the great moment when all things will be made right. I have seen how much suffering is in this world and truly I have no desire to be attached to this place. Heaven is my home and although I knew that before Caleb, I now feel that and long for that.
10. I'm closer to Jesus and His Mother. I have enough to talk to Jesus about for the rest of my life. He has taken me out to the deep waters and together we have come back in one piece. Mary has walked with me and held me so much of this journey. I was a praying person before this all happened, but after going through everything I really believe in the power of prayer. I know I would not have survived this past year without the prayers that were being said for us. Its very humbling to see how little you are when something like this happens. You begin to rely on the supernatural in a way you never could have imagined before. Jesus is real and He has used this grief to draw me deeper in a relationship with him. Thank you Jesus for being faithful.
So those are the top 10. Mostly I wanted to write them for myself to reflect back on during the hard days. But also, I wanted to show that good can come out of bad. That terrible things can happen and re-shape you for the better. And lastly to give hope to those battling the storm of grief, hang on, there is fruit that can come from the suffering.