So, emerging from a long state of sadness where you lost your energy, your will power, your social nature and your...self, has consequences. This summer has been one of intense reflection and realization. As I have focused inward on myself, my son and work (the basic survival must haves), I neglected things that were extremely important to me. In no particular order, my health, my friends and my loved ones. I just put them on autopilot for years and I have had to take a hard look at what that means now.
The friends, gratefully, are the easiest place to reconnect. Friends are truly amazing gifts. Mine just welcome me in and out whenever I need them. But I find myself in a different place now that our kids are not babies. The friends I like to hang out with are really hard to schedule. They have multiple kids who are all involved with sports and are busy all the time. I need to really amp up my diligence in reaching out to them and scheduling time. And I need to make new ones who aren't as busy and can hang out on weekends when my son is with his dad.
As for health, well I am not proud to say that I gained the equivalent of a small person since 2013. I guess self-medicating with food and giving in to my desire to do very little was not as horrible as some other methods of self-medicating but wow it is a long road back to fitness. And at my age it's harder than before. I lost 20 pounds this summer. I still have a lot to go.
As for loved ones...there is one person in particular who I leaned on the most in the last 5 years. I ran out of bandwidth for life and I lost my zest for love, life. I was numb. He must have felt as if I didn't love him for much of the past four years. That's the thing I regret most. Was it human to behave this way after the death of your child? Yes, I think it is human. But it is also devastating to feel as if the one you chose to love has emotionally left you and may never come back. Yes, it must have been. That's what I did to him. Where is this relationship now? It remains to be seen.
So, with wisdom and experience in my rear view mirror, we are forging ahead with fresh eyes and hearts. I feel like Sleeping Beauty waking up again after years of being in an emotional coma. I feel alive again. Things hurt deeply again. I can get excited about life again. In a way it feels good -- these emotions make me feel alive in a way I haven't in years. And I know there is joy on the horizon. And for the first time, I do not feel guilty about being alive and happy. For the longest time I felt like I shouldn't feel happy without Bella. Now, I have peace that I should be happy and can be happy and most of all...she would want me to be happy.
The pain of losing her will always be there. But it's a pain that is born of deep unconditional love that a mother has for her child. And it is sacred to me. It is all I have left of her. But it shouldn't overshadow all that is left in life. That's a huge step to realize that I can always miss her and still be alive and happy.
I have so much to be grateful for including this painful summer which has brought self-improvement in so many ways. I am grateful for those who have loved me through Bella's life and death and have patiently waited as I wasn't the best version of myself. I am grateful to God and for spiritual growth. And I am grateful for my son, who is blossoming into such a lovely, fun, energetic boy who will enter fourth grade in one week from tomorrow.
I may, finally, be finding the new version of myself and all that it brings. I am stepping back into life to welcome whatever comes next with a vulnerable, open heart and a brave soul that has lived through a tragedy, learned from it, and is ready to move forward. I survived it. It was messy, full of mistakes and often lacking in grace - but I made it through to the other side with a happy son, a faithful dog, and loved ones and friends who mean the world to me.