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Lessons of Loss

19 Sep

I’ve found myself leaving the same comment in different variations on a bunch of different blogs lately. It always seems insufficient so I decided to write a blog post. I have a blog, so it seemed fitting. 🙂 Anyway, I apologize in advance for getting all deep and sappy on you guys.

The last couple of months have brought me clarity in a way I never thought was possible. As chaotic as life has been lately, I’ve found myself in a state of relative peace. I think that embracing my desires rather than fighting them has made a huge difference in the way I view things. I want to share some of my newfound perspective with you.

These last 15 months have been filled with heartbreak after heartbreak. I have yet to achieve my dream of becoming a mother. I have yet to carry a baby past 8 weeks.

I’ve always thought of myself as a strong woman. Yet, in this last year I have felt pain beyond pain and my weaknesses have been exposed. That strength I thought I had was not real. It came from a place of emotional detachment. It came from a place of self-delusion and denial.

If there’s one thing that my losses have done, it’s been to force me to look myself in the mirror and find my true strength. They have snapped me out of the bubble that was my reality. In hindsight, that reality was a lie. It was repressed depression and anxiety. It was a lack of confidence and a lack of focus. Having to face down tragedy on such a big scale, having to deal with so much grief in such a short time finally brought all of these repressed emotions to the surface. I have realized that I was never strong. I was a ball of anxiety. I was going through the motions of life rather than living. I was on auto pilot. I spent most of my time in an un-feeling haze, never letting my true emotions break through the surface.

Until they forced their way through because I couldn’t hold them any more. They were too much to bear. I broke into a million pieces over and over again. I had to find a way to put myself back together.

I have spent the last year in a constant existential crisis. Always trying to find meaning, constantly trying to understand the “why” of all of this.

But something has changed in me. I don’t know whether I have that “why” yet. All I know is that I’m finally building myself back up, piece by piece. I am no longer trying to put a roof on a building with no foundation. I now realize that first you need to pour the cement.

Recently, one of my closest friends went through a pretty serious medical scare. She had to have a scan done at a hospital. I immediately volunteered to go with her and hold her hand through it.

A year ago, I may have just emotionally detached. I most definitely wouldn’t have entered a hospital voluntarily. But today, I’ve faced hospitals. I’ve faced scans. They don’t scare me any more. I am stronger, and therefore I could be strong for my friend when she needed me. I realize how much of a blessing that really is.

I’ve found true compassion for others. I have found the peace and fulfillment that comes from helping people who are in pain. I have found that my passion in life is for giving to others, and not creating for myself. I have found out what true love is, through an amazing husband that has held my hand as I fell apart, and stuck around to help me pick up the pieces.

I think that all of us in the ALI community are lucky. As much as life has dealt us a crappy hand, we see the world as it truly is, and we make it through. We don’t operate on auto-pilot. We have known loss and tragedy, and we are stronger for it.

Happiness can’t be appreciated if you haven’t felt pain and despair. Those around us that go through life having not known loss, can’t appreciate what they have as much as we can. We are lucky, because our losses and our grief has come at a relatively early stage in our lives. This means that we can spend the rest of our lives appreciating what we have. This means that after getting through this difficult time we will be able to look around and be grateful. We know what it’s like to be empty, and therefore being full is a reward, not a fact of life that is ignored.

The truth is that everyone will suffer loss at some point in their life. It is inevitable, it is part of what life is. These losses help us re-evaluate who we are, re-focus our goals, and truly appreciate the good things that we have.

This is the blessing of loss and infertility. That this appreciation comes so early for us. We know heartbreak, so our own hearts fill more easily. We know loss, and therefore we know and appreciate love. We have been helped, so we know how to help others.

Even now, with my damaged and scarred body, with all of the grief and pain that this last year has brought me, I can truly say: I am lucky. I am lucky to have had these experiences. I am lucky to have been kicked out of auto-pilot at such a young age, because now I can truly work on leading a fulfilling life. I am lucky to know how fragile life is, so when I finally create a life, I will marvel at the miracle more than I ever thought possible. I am lucky to have been through pain, because now I know how to hold someone else’s hand when they are in pain.

I am lucky. I am grateful. I am humbled.

I may not be whole, but I think I am slowly finding my way toward being content. And that is a gift that most people don’t have. I hope I can continue to embrace it.

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21 Responses to “Lessons of Loss”

  1. wtfhappenedtomyreallife September 19, 2011 at 21:24 #

    I am very sorry that we have this in common. I really do love the way you have stated this. Thank you very much for writing and sharing this. I have angel babies too. It really does give you a greater appreciation for the fragility of life.

    Love and light and healing to you dear,

    Lucky Star
    http://www.victimnomore.wordpress.com

  2. eggsinarow September 19, 2011 at 22:46 #

    Yes. I agree with you. So much. You are amazing and such a huge part of why I haven’t gone 100% crazy yet…xoxo

  3. Kristen September 19, 2011 at 23:06 #

    Lovely post, Mo. 🙂 I can tell you are getting stronger every day…it’s so lovely to see…

  4. BleedingTulip September 20, 2011 at 00:04 #

    I feel that, especially with everything going on in my marriage. As much as if sucks and it hurts, it forced our marriage out of auto-pilot and we talk about problems and solutions in a way I had dreamed of but never thought we would achieve.

    Your post made me think of how people used to live, 100 years ago. Where mortality was common. Both in infants and adults, as well as the family pig or cow or whatever, that children were raised with knowing that death was an integral part of life. How it made them appreciate what they had in a way that current society doesn’t.

    Great post Mo. I know I’ll be thinking about it!

  5. Esperanza September 20, 2011 at 00:59 #

    Wow, what a brave, honest and inspiring post. I’m truly at a loss for words. I can say thank you for reminding me of all my struggles have given me. And thank you for showing me how to help others, by helping me when I most needed it.

    Love always.

  6. Elphaba September 20, 2011 at 02:56 #

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Sometimes I wonder, if I had to do it all again, would I have preferred to just live the life of an oblivious fertile? Maybe not. I wouldn’t have gained that extra something that can only come with heartache and loss. And I would never have met any of you.

  7. Kelly September 20, 2011 at 03:42 #

    What a great post…and right on target as I try to find a silver lining to the clouds. I’ve been humbled for sure, reminded how lucky I am in so many other ways…and what I find going through this stuff is doing is helping to sort out the good from the bad, the meaningful from the insignificant, the direction from the lost. Infertility is making me see what is important, what I am, and what I’m not.

    Thank you for writing this, and your support. It’s really appreciated.

  8. jjiraffe September 20, 2011 at 10:07 #

    Lovely and unique variation on the gift of empathy that so many in the infertility community gain. I tend to romanticize my “golden” past before infertility knocked me down: the quick climb up the career ladder, the achievements, the engagement in Paris, the perfect wedding. But I wonder if underneath all that happiness was a lot of anxiety too. Anxiety to hit those marks. Like you said. I know you’re another Type A like me. I’ve felt peace and serenity emanating from your most recent posts. I am so happy you’ve been able to reach this place. You are an inspiration to me.

  9. Cattiz J September 20, 2011 at 10:10 #

    Yes we are lucky. There are great lessons to learn in the midst of all. This is a very beautiful post and a good reminder of what we actually have.

  10. chon September 20, 2011 at 12:40 #

    Oh love that was AMAZING. I definitely feel that I have become a better person because of IF, not that I was shallow but I was definitely not as compassionate or understanding of people and their emotions. If you can come away from it all knowing this then that is good. Once you can move past the hurt life does become much easier. Sending you happy thoughts

  11. Mel September 20, 2011 at 17:52 #

    A gorgeous post about not operating on auto-pilot (which is just so easy to do). I love this thought: “All I know is that I’m finally building myself back up, piece by piece. I am no longer trying to put a roof on a building with no foundation. I now realize that first you need to pour the cement.”

  12. bodegabliss September 20, 2011 at 19:21 #

    Do you know how incredibly proud I am of you? Do you? Because I am.

    Love!
    xoxo

  13. slcurwin September 20, 2011 at 23:37 #

    You said it Mo.

  14. St. Elsewhere September 21, 2011 at 14:51 #

    Beautiful post, Mo! “We have known loss and tragedy, and we are stronger for it.”

    I could have written something that would resonate with the same theme really. We swim through. That is the best part.

    Much love to you.

  15. cablearms September 21, 2011 at 15:44 #

    big hugs from Canada, Mo! SQUISHHH!

  16. Chrissie September 21, 2011 at 19:50 #

    What a beautiful post. I can relate to so much of your experience and the unlocking of emotion, real emotion that happens when your world falls apart over and over with each loss. I think that my marriage is stronger because of all the tears.I know it could have ripped us apart, but I think we are able to appreciate one another more when we are all we have. We are now on a journey towards building our family via adoption and very excited, but in the midst of all the fun planning there is an undercurrent of grief that we will always carry with us. Healing takes time.
    Blessings to you
    Chrissie

    ICLW #23

  17. Port of Indecision September 22, 2011 at 03:07 #

    Bravo! (Though I still kinda wish all that character stuff had just come built-in)

  18. Searching for Serenity September 23, 2011 at 16:10 #

    This is so incredibly spot on with where I’m at in my journey right now. Finding the silverlining in all that has happened in my life over the past 5 years. IF and loss has taught me to have gratitude, compassion and grace. I love your perspective on giving thangs for learning it early so we can live the rest of our lives enjoying what we have.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    S4S

  19. Peg September 23, 2011 at 16:50 #

    what a beautiful post. Our family has experienced a horrible loss in the last two years. My sister and her husband were killed in a car accident leaving 4 girls. While I find it hard to find any meaning in what happened or good, I think it was made us all more empathetic. All of us, especially the kids, know so intimately what loss really is and maybe in the future we’ll be able to help someone is our lives that is facing unimaginable loss. I also like what you said about being broken down in pieces and rebuilding. I’m slowly seeing signs of our family rebuilding in a different but hopefully equally good way.

    Thanks for the great post and insight.

  20. S September 24, 2011 at 00:25 #

    Great post. I share your feelings. I’ll never believe that our infertility “happened for a reason,” but I think it’s a wise person who can find some meaning in the experience nonetheless.

  21. vixenfern October 12, 2011 at 13:32 #

    “Happiness can’t be appreciated if you haven’t felt pain and despair”

    Thank you for this post, it gives me a better understanding of what I’m going through right now.

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