There are some moments where there is so clearly a before and an after that it feels like you’re being sucked through a hole to the end, seeing nothing around you. It’s been 36 hours since I left off writing, trying to get some work done. 36 hours since I broke down with the reality of losing my child. 36 hours that I would not have gotten through without tremendous support. I woke up at 1 in the morning from a bad dream and couldn’t get back to sleep. I finally came downstairs at 3 o’clock and decided to get some work done. As I began working in a piece about patience, I wrote something along the lines of, “I’m always rushing and I never slow down to listen,” and I completely broke down. The tears flowed uncontrollably as the weight of what I went through hit me, the finality of it, the fact that there is no turning back time. I thought about what the future would look like, and for a moment an immense heaviness settled on me.
As I struggled with the guilt and the anxiety, my thoughts twisting like knives, realizing that part of my life is over, I felt scared and uncertain. And it hit me that I will never know anything different than this because this is how things played out. As the thoughts continued, I tried to feel instead of talking my way through it. I felt this heat spread over my chest, something I have never felt before. The thought, “This is your release,” hit me. I know that thought was not my own.
I went to my mother’s house with my son and on our way there, I asked for a sign that everything was as it should be. “Dog Days are Over” by Florence and the Machine came on and I saw a hawk fly across the sky—hawks are always a symbol to me, a messenger. The sky lit up bright red as the sun tried to come out all through the rain. I thought it appropriate weather considering the physical relief I feel mixed with the emotional weight. When we arrived at my mom’s I told her what was going on thought wise, and I broke down again. It’s been less than 72 hours since everything happened, and I think I allowed myself to actually feel today.
I admitted I needed help. I’ve always been the kind of person to try to grin and bear it or I’ve pushed through. This is something I can’t carry alone. I’ve been trying to ignore the real feelings underneath and to live logically—every step we took forward was met with 10 steps back and the situation was deteriorating rapidly. There was nothing else to be done, nothing I could do.
I went to my doctor’s office to arrange another appointment and ran into one of the practitioners in the hall as I was leaving. I told her everything and she listened and coached me and asked me if I wanted a hug. I held on to her like my life depended on it and cried. I went downstairs to my office and called my dad. I called my husband. I talked to my coworkers. Words started leaving my mouth without any apparent control from me. I cried more and I received support in so many ways today. And all at once I knew that I am incredibly blessed. I have a support system all around me—all I needed to do was ask for help.
For over a month I have felt so many different things, I couldn’t even begin to process what was happening on some levels. Not until the aftermath of the very end did it hit me how much it impacted me. All of the feelings I’ve held onto for 6 weeks came fast and furious. I know I still have to process them and I know that there may be more to come. Sometimes it happens slowly where you feel like your entire life is dragging out. Sometimes it’s the blink of an eye. For me, it was 36 hours. That’s what it took for me to go from feeling like my entire world had crumbled to seeing the new foundation built beneath me. I know it’s brand new, but I feel it beneath my feet. I am so incredibly grateful. I am strong enough to move on, but I am also fragile now. I am working to take this in and move forward–because this is the after.