My emotions run rampant on a daily basis. There are more ups and downs and twists and turns in my day than in Six Flags and Busch Gardens combined. Of all these emotions, four in particular are the most prevalent. Sometimes they hit all at once, like a gang sneak attack. Other times, they slip in silently one at a time, and envelop me like a blanket. No matter what, they are a part of everything I do. My grief is like a room with four corners. In each corner, an emotion I must confront, a challenge I must face. My room is surrounded by windows, but right now, they are all boarded up tight, and it is dark. As I face what is in each corner, I grow a little stronger. With strength and time, I will eventually be able to remove the boards, letting more and more light in to chase away the blackness.
Corner Number One
Sorrow overwhelms me. Loss brings devastation. Period. My heart has been torn into pieces, and when I try to put it back together, there is one huge piece missing - leaving me hollow and broken. When Kenley died, she took pieces of me with her. Sorrow seeps in like radioactive slime, filling the empty spaces. When I look through my photos of her, I trace her face with my fingers, and sorrow pours out in a waterfall of my tears. Sorrow for the life she will never have, for the hand I will never hold, for the laugh I will never hear. I am sad for the daughter I will never get to watch grow up. I am sad for the mother I am unable to be. I am sad for the nursery, full of owls and sunlight, that sits empty and unused. I am heavy and burdened with the weight of what should have been.
Corner Number Two
Guilt consumes me. Regardless of what people say, I can't let go of the guilt I feel. Truth be told, I cannot remember the moment when I felt her move for the last time. I know she was quiet on Sunday - gone by Monday. But, did she move on Saturday? Or was it Friday when I last felt that last ninja kick? I don't know. I try so hard to remember, not just to ease my mind, but to have just one more moment of being conscious of her life. I should have been paying more attention. I took her acrobatics for granted. I lost focus, and now she's gone. I failed her. I failed Mike. I failed everyone who loved her and waited excitedly for her to be born. I hold my guilt close. I clutch it to my chest with white knuckles. You can try to pry my fingers away, but they will not budge. They will not loosen. I should have known.
Anger fuels me. There are no words to express the anger I feel towards the unfairness of everything that has happened. Of all the mothers in the world, why was it me? Of all the babies gearing up for life, why was it hers that was taken away? I deserve to be holding my daughter. She deserves to live the quirky and hilarious life we would have given her. I am angry at the universe - and I daily give it the proverbial middle finger. I am like the teenager denied a curfew extension who sneaks out to the party anyway. I'll show you! I am more determined than ever to live my life to the fullest. My anger propels me forward. When the grief is too much to bear, my anger is what picks me up and says to me "Are you going to let it win?", and I respond with an emphatic and resounding NO! I will not buckle to the grief. I will not let Kenley's death be in vain. I will push through this tunnel of death and darkness, and I will find my way to the light!
Corner Number Four
Love sustains me. As sorrow weighs me down, guilt cripples me, and anger boils my blood, it is love that keeps me strong in spite of these others. Love for life. Love for friends and family. Love for Mike. And obviously, love for Kenley. I am surrounded by love. It pours in from all directions, and I bask in it like sunshine. It warms my soul and glues my broken heart back together. I had never known a love like the one I feel for my daughter. It was overwhelming and surprising. I wasn't expecting to fall head over heels for my little ninja, but as soon as I knew her heart beat inside me, that is exactly what I did. In her short 8 months of life, she showed me how strong love can be and how strong love can make you. I cling to it in this storm of emotion. Love is my anchor. It is what helps me feel joy in a joyless time. I am lucky to have love in my room with me, as not everyone is afforded this luxury. As long as I hold on to my love, I will get through this hell alive.
Everyone who has experienced loss is in their own room too with their own corners to face. Sometimes, we are able to open the window and let in fresh air. Sometimes, we let others visit us. Sadly, some people never muster up the courage to deal with what is in their corners, allowing themselves to be defeated, and they live the rest of their life in stifling darkness. What I have come to realize is that I will always be in this room of grief. I will live the rest of my life within these walls. Over time, I will let in more and more light. I will get stronger and I will open the windows. I will paint the walls vibrant colors and I will make myself more at home. Friends and family will visit me and we will smile and laugh again. But the room will remain.