Two weeks ago today, my beautiful daughter, Sophia, died. I have tried to come up with a more eloquent way of saying that…but I can’t because Sophia died. She didn’t just slip or pass away. The last three weeks of her life she struggled; she suffered both physical and emotionally with what was happening to her body. There were screams of wanting to go home, to leave her alone, and tears…lots and lots of tears.
And in the end she stopped breathing and died. It’s hard, it’s painful, it hurts like nothing I have ever experienced before. Why should I or anyone else sugar coat the reality of losing your child? My child. There are moments when I can barely breathe. There are moments when I desperately want to go and be with her…
I’ve come to realize Living grief and living IN grief are two completely different journeys. I have reluctantly moved into the latter. In living grief, denial is the sweet spot. It is where we can push aside the medical issues, the disease of our loved one and live in the moment, be present, seek joy, and love love love every minute.
In grief, denial is a fresh wound that refuses to heal. That keeps bubbling over, infected, oozing. Dropping me to my knees when I hear a certain song, keeping me on the brink of tears until I no longer have the strength or resolve to hold them back and have to simply stop and let the ache in my heart pour out of my eyes for what seems like an endless amount of time.
Fourteen days, three hours to be exact…as I write this, Sophia died.
There are moments when I forget. I think oh, I can go see her at Canuck Place or I can call them to check up on her. She is there for respite. Then it all comes flooding back, that she is gone. And all I am left with is her ‘things’ strewn across two homes, the last piece of clothing she wore in a zip-lock bag to preserve her smell along with a strand of hair I cut before they took her body away.
Maria Konnikova (@mkoonikav) wrote an article in The New Yorker last spring How People Learn to Become Resilient. Maria often quotes Martin Seligman, the ‘father of positive psychology. In this article, she indicates that Seligman found training people to think of their situation ‘from permanent to impermanent (“I can change the situation, rather than assuming it’s fixed”) made them more psychologically successful and less prone to depression.”
How do I do that in grief? I can’t bring Sophia back; her death is permanent. Where does the impermanence lie in the loss of a loved one? How do I learn to become resilient amid the pain and loss?
Or, do I sit in the depression? Allow myself to weep, to process, to feel, to fall...
Fourteen days, four hours, and forty-five minutes…
Beverley Pomeroy is an awarded and highly sought after Community Engagement Strategist, Speaker, Author of Living Grief; The Profound Journey of Ongoing Loss. Beverley’s community service began with a fifteen year career in private health care working for MDS Inc (LifeLabs). This community health care role developed her acumen not only for serving people in need, but also her strength in business management and organizational renewal.