Content Warning: death and child loss
In That Moment
When my daughter died in 2014, suddenly everything that meant anything to me was gone. Poof. Just like that. One moment she was there, lying in her hospital bed as I washed her short, fuzzy hair, the next moment the part of her that made her her, was gone. And all that was left was her body. A body that I loved as my own. A perfect little body that I had birthed and cared for tirelessly for the last 18 months and four days. I had poured everything I had into that body, trying desperately to save her. But where was the person that had occupied it? The person I loved?
I’m not one to cry in front of other people. It’s hard for me to be that vulnerable. But in that moment, when I realized she was gone, I didn’t care who was around me. I was hit with a tidal wave of terror, and due to the immediacy of my pain, my grief was effortlessly mine. I claimed it. I lived it. I barely remember wailing “she’s gone, she’s gone, she’s gone,” again and again, holding her on those crisp, white sheets as we were rolled down hallways past bystanders and strangers. All of whom bore witness to the beginning of my life as a bereaved mother.
A Culture That Fears Death
There was a freedom for me in those initial minutes, hours, days, weeks of grief. Freedom in the fact that I wasn’t able to censor myself. I wasn’t able to care about what anyone else thought of me, and therefore, I was able to grieve freely.
Claiming our grief as our own is a difficult thing to do in a culture that fears death and loss the way ours does. We, the grieving, are so widely encouraged to keep our grief to ourselves, to move past it, get over it, sanitize it, that grieving at all becomes a monumental task.
We are taught to fear, demonize, and avoid our grief. Covert messages are passed through generations about how to stuff-down and hide our pain. We lack wise elders to assist us and teach us how to grieve well. Grieving is a skill that one actually gets better at through intentional practice. Grieving can be something we consciously participate in, instead of something that simply happens to us.
No One Gets to Take My Grief
But I refuse to allow anyone, including myself and my own conditioning, to rob me of my right to grieve. My grief is mine. The deep grief that I felt and still feel—although it has changed in many ways now, eight years in—is an ongoing testament to the deep love I have for my daughter. Grief is love. No one gets to silence that, or shorten that, or censor that. No one.
And your grief is your grief, however it looks for you. Can’t cry? It’s ok, that’s grief. Cry all the time? That’s ok, too. Keeping yourself busy because you’re terrified to drop into your feelings? Yep, I get it. Everyone grieves differently. No one gets to tell us how to grieve, because there is literally no “right” way to do it. Just as there is no single “right” or “best” way to live.
Your grief is your own. It’s deeply painful. It’s deeply sacred.
Journal Prompts for Personal Reflection:
- How do you grieve? Openly? Privately?
- Is it easy for you to feel your grief, or does it scare you?
- What messages have you gotten about grief?
- How have these messages shaped your ideas about grieving?
Looking for an online therapist in Kansas?
Need a safe, non-judgmental place to feel your grief? My Lawrence, Kansas counseling practice specializes in providing therapy for highly sensitive adults, therapy for self-esteem, therapy for anxiety, therapy for codependency, and grief counseling.
Through counseling I help people overcome shame and the fear of being their true selves. Breaking the cycles of people-pleasing and self-abandonment is possible, and I'm here to help. I offer online therapy throughout the state of Kansas.
Reach out today to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation, I'd love to hear from you!
Other Services Offered by Maggie
In addition to providing online therapy anywhere in Kansas, I’m also a professional astrologer, and offer Birth Chart Readings anywhere in the United States, as well as abroad.
Astrology is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness, finding meaning in and understanding of our difficult experiences, and for receiving validation regarding our own unique life path. All of which supports our mental health in a positive way!
Interested in getting a Natal Chart Reading? Book a free phone consultation and let’s get started!