I’m not a very patient person. I want to be, but it’s something that I struggle with. After Hannah died, I tried to be very patient with myself. There were some days that I didn’t get out of bed except to let the dog out. There were some days where I had every intention of doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and cooking dinner, but I couldn’t find the energy to do any of it. Grief is exhausting – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It wears you down. I knew I needed to experience it and not just push it to the side. I knew that in order for me to start healing, I needed to walk that path. And, even though I knew that, I still wasn’t very forgiving of myself.
I felt guilty that I was at home just trying to survive and Zach had to get up and go to work everyday. He had to face the real world, and I was still hiding from it. It was almost 6 months before I went back to work again. I just couldn’t finish the school year. I spent those 6 months dealing with a lot of feelings that I wasn’t used to. I dealt with a lot of anger, jealousy, and resentment. It was hard for me to be around kids, and I love children. It was hard for me to see pictures of newborns. It was difficult to see people that had been pregnant when I was pregnant. It was hard to see them with their babies when I was the only one who didn’t get to bring a baby home. And, I hated feeling all of those things. But, I tried to go easy on myself and just hoped those feelings would get better over time. I can honestly say that several months later, they have.
I have a dear friend who had a son shortly after I lost Hannah. The first time I saw him, I cried. It was the first time I had seen a newborn, and it was more painful than I was expecting. But, now, it’s comforting to see him. Knowing that Jack and Hannah would be about the same age, it makes me feel a little more connected to her. But, I think it would still be painful to be around him if I didn’t let myself feel what I needed to feel when I saw him for the first time.
There are moments of grief that have caught me by surprise: shopping for my sister’s wedding dress and realizing in the middle of the dress shop that it’s a moment I will never have with Hannah, standing in the middle of Disney World and seeing my first “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament since Hannah died, hearing that we are having a niece in a few months, and walking through a store and seeing a cute outfit I know would have looked beautiful on Hannah. Through all these moments, I tried to let myself experience them and feel them, and then find a healthy place for them to fit into my life.
I’m in a much healthier place now than I was shortly after her death. But, this lesson in patience with myself is ongoing. And, it’s an aspect of grieving that I wasn’t prepared for. God has had to teach me over and over again that I can’t control everything. I felt guilty for grieving; I know where Hannah is. And, I know that she is living life abundantly, and she’s not resting in peace. But, the Bible speaks of mourning in several places. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, God says there is, “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” I am mourning the death of my daughter, but He is comforting me. One day soon, Jesus will return, and God has promised that, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) What a glorious day that will be!