“Being alive is challenging.”-Tom Petty
I made a confession to my husband today. I told him a secret that I have been harboring for the last 19 months. In the days after Dorothy’s death, I wanted to die.
The preeclampsia that killed Dorothy had almost killed me. My doctors saved my life. I wished that they hadn’t. I felt like they had wasted their time. Dorothy was gone and I just wanted to go with her. Wherever she was, there was no more pain. There was no more suffering. That’s where I wanted to be. Being left alive just to feel this unbearable heartbreak felt cruel.
Life just wasn’t worth living anymore.
I know a lot of moms who deal with survivor’s guilt after their babies die. It’s a terrifying, but completely normal, feeling to have. A mother walking this earth without her child feels unnatural. I really struggled with this guilt; this rebellion against nature. There were so many moments in those early days of grief where I wondered what I was living for.
What was I living for? This haunted me. It lurked in the shadowy depths of my new life. The relentless heartache had left a hollow place for my questions to echo in. What could I have to live for without Dorothy?
When she died, I thought my purpose had died too. I no longer felt a desire to face the challenges and the heartbreaks that life had in store for me. It was all too much. No matter how brave the world thought I was, I didn’t feel strong enough for this burden. I would never survive under it’s weight.
But, I have survived. I am living my life and I am finding the reasons to live.
I live for Mike and his love.
I live for my parents and their unwavering support.
I live for my brother and the rest of my family who care so much for my happiness.
I live for my friends who know that I’m worth it.
I live for the fellow members of my loss community who inspire me everyday.
I live because I have a story to tell and words that have not yet been written.
I live for my daughters.
I live because I have a whole world to show Frances.
I live because Dorothy can’t.
Being alive is challenging. There are still moments when I’m not sure I should be here. But, I want to be here. I deserve to be here. Dorothy’s death is not a reason to stop living. It’s a reason to live fiercely.
So, I am moving forward. I am facing today and I plan on getting up to face tomorrow with a new mantra to guide me.
Life is a challenge worth living.
I’m ready for the challenge.