There are some truths that I feel I need to admit. So many people read this, and so many people have reached out to me. I have heard that I’m an “amazing mother, an incredibly strong, kind, and compassionate woman.” The list goes on and on. But it’s not the truth of me. All those good things – sure, I can be those things. I can model those behaviors. I work really hard every day to be that person – this person that Internet-land claims that I am.
But you know what? There’s a huge part of me that never comes out here. There’s a huge part of me that I don’t write about. Mostly because I don’t want people to worry about me. Also because, let’s be truthful, who wants for the world to know their flaws?
I am flawed. I’ve made mistakes in my life. I’ve considered myself over others and done selfish things. Even now, my selfish and destructive nature still exists. Self-destructive behavior is a part of grief that I rarely hear discussed. It’s the “dark” side of grief (if grief could be said to have a dark side). I know couples that have lost a child and are struggling so terribly – spouses that have turned to drugs, alcohol, other destructive behaviors.
Grief is incredibly hard. It is a force that surrounds and envelopes. It doesn’t lift magically one day, and all is well. It is always here, and it always will be. Knowing that the rest of my life will be underlined by my loss is hard to face some days. I am lucky to have an incredible support network holding me up when I would otherwise fall. My 2 girls remain an impetus for getting me out of bed. My husband remains my staunchest supporter and friend. Beyond that, I have my parents, my in-laws, a huge group of strong mothers and veterinarians, and even James’s medical team to hold me up.
Even with that support, I still struggle to embody the things that I want to be. I still face my own inner demons daily, my own weaknesses, my own self-destructive tendencies. My guiding light remains James and my sweet girls. When I would fall down, when I would give in to the darkness, I remember them. I remember James – his smile, his voice. And I remember that giving in to those inner demons would be dishonoring him and his memory. I recite his lessons to me:
- giving of myself and what I have
And then I hug my husband, and I kiss my girls, and the world seems a little brighter. I forgive myself for my past mistakes. And I know that I will survive this. Not only will I survive, but I will be stronger, shine brighter, be kinder, more graceful. I will be the things that everyone believes I already am. I will be the person shaped by my daughters and by my beloved, always missed James.