It’s no secret that we lose ourselves after our children die.

I have seen so many posts on social media about this recently. Parents are lost, desperately searching for themselves, their purpose and direction, clinging to tiny slivers of hope with every ounce of strength they have left.

Hearing the devastation out there reminded me of when I got lost in my old journal not long ago.

As my fingers sifted through the pages, my eyes fixated on a particular entry, hot tears fell down my cheeks. Reading those words back, my heart sank. It hurt. Bad.

My thoughts were honest and real. My handwriting in disarray. I could feel the emptiness and longing in my heart, the sharp pain from all those years ago, just like it was yesterday. A mother desperate for her child. I wanted to feel close to my daughter. I needed to feel close to her.

I was shocked as it had been over 8 years since she had passed away when I wrote those words and the pain was still so very present. How is that possible?

Who was that person? It had been 8 years and I clearly was still lost. I didn’t know who I was. Talk about heartbreaking.

Shouldn’t I have had it all together by then?

Shouldn’t we all have it together after a certain time?

Not at all.

Digesting these words reflecting back on my grief journey, a picture was painted for me. My eyes became aware of the ever changing tides of emotions that child loss entails.

Who are we now?

Can we ever be who we used to be?

How do we find our way?

Sometimes we feel we are doing well, have our stuff together, other days we fall apart, desperate for someone to pick up our pieces. Everyday is different. And that’s ok. It is a lifelong journey. There is no time limit, nor right or wrong way to grieve.

This is our new life. A new journey of self discovery, survival and meaning. A road less traveled, requiring guidance and a loving hand in the midst of our grief, to figure out who we are now and how to balance life in the before and after.

Even though we will never be the same person we once were, we do have the capacity to be reborn into beautiful souls who appreciate the light because we have known the most excruciating hell.

We must intentionally search for the sunlight-small glimmers of positivity and love every day. It takes effort to illuminate life in the darkness. Eventually, we will find a spurring awareness that adds depth to our souls, one which never would have been known before.

Take it from me. Although it may take a while, have faith, you will find the real you.

Our vitality and zest for life, while we think it has been destroyed, is actually present, buried deep within us. Somehow, on our own timeline, in the midst of the pain, we slowly become our ideal self- new and improved from the people we once were. Honoring ourselves, we live authentically, without fear or judgment, as we have known the greatest hurt possible.

Our children would want to see us not just surviving but thriving and living a peaceful, fulfilled life. We can choose to be a better version of ourselves, carrying hope in our hearts. As time passes, gradually, we evolve as genuine beings, full of passion while courageously living out the rest of our days with hearts of compassion.

Remember, you are unique. You are wonderful. You are brave. You are strong. You are resilient. You are beautiful. You are loved.

Psalm 139:14

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

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