Life Is A Challenge Worth Living

“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.

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