After we lose a loved one, we tend to wonder if there is Life after death. I’m not going into the depths of my theology today, but I can definitively say there is life for those of us that are still here. The thing is, at first it doesn’t feel like there can be life again. It’s hard to fathom moving on because the future that you’ve created in your mind now has to be drastically altered.
We lost our daughter. She was a 41 week, perfectly formed, stillborn baby. Even writing that still takes my breath away– it punches me right in the gut. Every ultrasound and prenatal test was perfect. I would watch the lively way she would dance and move in my belly. We dreamed about her eye color and the sound of her voice, none of which we ever got to experience. We went into labor on a Tuesday morning, excited to meet our little girl, and we came home hours later, in shock, with sad, empty arms. We buried her on a Friday– the day my milk came in. I was supposed to be nursing a newborn, but instead I was holding frozen peas to the bodice of my black dress so that the swelling without relief wouldn’t be too much to handle. I hated Tuesday’s and Friday’s for a long while after that. Hated? Maybe dreaded. Each time they came around it was a fresh reminder of what I had lost. “I’m supposed to be smiling at an 8 week old”, I would think. “She would have been 12 weeks old and starting to sleep through the night.”
Now here we are almost 7 years later, and I can confirm for a fact that life does begin to move again. The first two weeks were such a deep, heavy sadness. I knew that if we wanted to live, we were going to have to pull out of that hole. I did not want to stay in that darkness for the rest of my life, so we made some choices and got some support and started to pull out.
The first couple months were so sensitive. I was quick to tears. Any mention of loss or death would bring the grief rapidly to the surface. I quit watching most tv shows because the story lines were too harsh or upsetting. My compassion for real people, however, skyrocketed. I had a better understanding of what they were going through. I could relate to their pain; I shared a little of their suffering.
By about 2 years, the sharp pain had dulled, and I got to the point where the depth of our loss is not part of our everyday life but more of a deep well that I uncap when I stop to think about it. I think I’ve stayed at that point. I let myself mourn when those moments arise. If my other kids ask why I’m crying, I honestly admit that I’m sad because I miss Baby Hannah. They understand it. They hug me and tell me that they miss her too.
I had to choose life after death, and because of that I’ve gotten to experience so much beauty. I delight in the laughter of my other children, I enjoy peacefulness as I watch nature, I hug my husband tightly. Our family has lived these 7 years running hard after the things that are in our heart, and loving the people around us as we go.
If you’ve lost someone you love, please mourn them. Mourn them deeply. Let yourself feel the emotion, then receive the comfort that comes. Don’t push it away. Don’t choose to stay in that dark place. Don’t suffer needlessly. Grieving is hard enough of a process. Don’t add punishing yourself to it. Find the comforting thoughts and embrace them. Smile and appreciate the good memories of the person you love.
Choose to live a life after death.
Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below. You are not alone.