After Aubrey and Ellie died I was faced with the biggest decision of my life. I was completely devastated and in shock, yet I knew that I was at a crossroad.
I had to decide to walk through my grief to reach the healing on the other side or let my grief overwhelm me and leave me wrecked and miserable for the rest of my life.
To be honest, at first I did just want to lay down and die. I could not imagine ever feeling anything but pain again. Yet I knew that I had to commit to the process of healing even if I could not fathom ever reaching the end. I had to at least try.
And not just for my sake, but for the sake of my husband and son, and for my girls. My girls may have died, but I was still alive and I had to learn to live again or I was afraid my grief would swallow me up. My son needs a happy mom, my husband needs a whole wife, and I wanted to honor my girls by living a full life.
I eventually decided that I was determined to make it through. I was going to make it to the other side no matter what.
Looking back though I see that I had no idea what making such a decision would require of me. I could not fathom the fight ahead of me. I still can't. I am blindsided daily by the difficulty of healing. But I'm along for the ride no matter where it takes me. I literally hold on for dear life and pray that at the end of it I will find the peace I am desperately seeking.
I often reflect on the exact moment I made the decision to find my way through my grief. I was sitting in front of my daughters' casket, staring at it. I have never felt such anguish in my life. I often describe that day as the worst day of my life. Attending Aubrey and Ellie's funeral was my worst nightmare realized and the finality of their death was emotionally sickening. I could barely endure it. I wanted to crawl inside their casket and be buried with them. I could not imagine feeling pain more painful than what I felt that day.
Yet, in the midst of my paralyzing pain, I felt a peace. I believed for the first time since their death that I would make it, that I could keep living even though they were gone. It would not be easy, but I didn't have to figure it out alone. It would be OK. And my girls were OK.
I decided right then that no matter how hard the process became, I would not give up. And so my journey began.
I remember telling myself that now I get to find out what I am made of. And you know what I have discovered?
I am made of tears and snot!
I wish I could say that I discovered how strong I am, but I haven't. I found out that I am not strong enough for this. Losing my girls stripped me of any strength I thought I had. I can honestly say that my own strength has not moved me a single step forward, that God has carried me every step of the way. His strength is what gets me through. His comfort keeps me striving for healing. His words and promises give me hope. I don't know where I would be without God's faithfulness.
The process has proven to be harder than I ever imagined it though. I often want to give up. And at times I probably have. But God gives me a renewed strength and is patient with me as I travel uniquely through my grief.
Every morning I wake up and say, "OK God, it is you and me together today." And He is so faithful. It has been over three months now and I am still pushing on. It has not been easy though. I have been discouraged many times. Grief is messy and confusing. There is no rhyme or reason to the process. Just when I think I can't hurt anymore than I do, somehow I feel the loss of my girls even more deeply. When I don't think I have one more tear to cry, more tears come. When I think I am finally taking a step forward I get knocked back ten steps. Grief is pretty relentless. And I just keep taking blow after blow.
I don't know what is ahead of me. I do know that I still have a long way to go. I do know that I am so tired and still so sad. I know that I hate grief and I hate that my girls died. I don't know how this became my life. But it is my life and all I can do is the best I can.
I remain committed to my healing journey.