I feel like this could be an ongoing post as I continue to go through this process. It’s been almost four months since we lost Emmett.
So far, these are the things that I’ve noticed about this journey and myself:
1. Live each moment to the fullest.
You never know what’s going to happen at any second. Take advantage of opportunities that come up. Live your life, don’t be afraid of it.
2. I’m not afraid to speak up anymore
I’m usually a really reserved person who is quite introverted. I find myself speaking very quickly these days, sometimes without thinking. However, I think it’s probably the first time in my life that I’ve been brutally honest with myself and others. I sincerely apologize if I’ve said or done something in the past six months that has offended you. My filter is on a sabbatical right now.
3. Don’t take things or people for granted
I find myself saying “I love you” to people more and that I’m just grateful for the things in my life no matter how mundane and silly. I think part of it is because I know I’m lucky to have experienced a good life. Emmett is never going to experience any of those things that I have. There’s always going to be all of those “what-ifs”. Those missed holidays and birthdays. The first words, first steps, none of those will get to happen for him.
4. Grief is different for each person
Grief is going to be different for each person, man and woman, parents and grandparent, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve just learned that each person needs their own way and space to grieve. Some people, like me, want to be open about it. Others will hold it inside until they can get one good emotional sobbing fit out and then they’re good. There’s no wrong way to grieve and mourn. Do what feels right to you and to honor the loss and emotions that you feel.
5. Some people’s actions and words just seem petty
I found myself on vacation a few weeks ago, crying in a bathroom stall over the actions of others. I was in Charleston with girlfriends from back home in Wisconsin who I’ve known the majority of my life. We were at dinner one night and all of a sudden the restaurant turned into this crazy dance club. There were tiara-wearing brides-to-be all over the place, hanging all over every single man at the bar and acting unbearable. I just couldn’t handle it. I needed to escape.
I’ve seen women like this before, I was probably just like that during my bachelorette party almost nine years ago. But, at that moment, I just couldn’t help but feel envious and jealous of those women. The life ahead of them. They’ll probably get married and get pregnant in no time, have no issues whatsoever. Then, there’s me. The person who’s planned everything so thoughtfully and methodically most of her life. Did everything she could to have a healthy pregnancy and have it taken away from me.
Bonus thing I’ve learned — I’m irrational at times. I totally know that those women in the bar are nothing to be jealous of. They could be in my same shoes in the future (I honestly hope they’re not). I’ve also found myself Googling the most bizarre stuff like how to build a nuclear/end-of-the-world bunker that’s filled with 25 years worth of shelf-stable food. I’ve been inches away from the phone about to order a free sample of freeze-dried beef stroganoff that will last me until the time I’d be eligible for AARP.
The switch in my brain that knows reality from fiction is faulty right now. Sometimes it’s teetering on weird things that I get hyper focused on, things that before all this I would never have thought about or given the time of day to. I’ve come to the conclusion that I acknowledge the feeling, no matter how odd. Then, I take a breather and step back to slowly come back to plant my feet on Earth.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of lessons learned. I’ll be back in a few days with part two. What have you learned from grief?