A longing grief

I was sitting in English class on a normal, windy March day in 2013. It was my last class of the day and as soon as we get started with our lesson I get a call to head to the principals office. This seems weird since I pass through the halls like a ghost and I’m pretty sure only like 15 people know me in a high school of 1500 – what do they want with me? I walk in the office and my mom is standing there – looking like, well, hell (sorry mom) – and I can’t quite hear her, but I think she says, “Ty and Rachel had the baby.” I start smiling and laughing because like omg how freaking exciting, right? This small mistake in words lead me into a world of confusion when I realized that Ty and Rachel did not have their baby, but rather she had been taken away from us.

Grieving the loss of someone can take a long time to process and work through. It’s been seven years since Lainey went to heaven and there have been some really shitty days and then there have been some really great days, but each day is a day without her.

Learning to live with the loss of someone can take a long time and everybody grieves differently. Each one of us feels differently when going through the process and that’s okay. Practicing patience, kindness, and sharing your emotions can help pass through the time.

Will I ever feel better?

Maybe. I know for me it took two years of counseling to get all my grief, anger, sadness, and questions situated in a way that I could handle them. There are days I still get really upset and then there are days that are simply better than the last one.

I was (and still am) grieving as an aunt. My aunts are some of the most important people to me and my aunt Jinger is one of my closest friends. I wanted to mimic our relationship to match Jinger and I’s, so when those plans were thwarted, it caused me to question everything else in life. I was angry, confused, and sad.

So, will you ever feel better? That’s up to you. I’m a strong believer in creating your own happiness, so creating your own version of “better” is also up to you.

Little things take me by surprise

Have you ever been triggered by something and you didn’t even know that it would trigger you? Way, way down in the deepest parts of our brains all these tiny things are hidden. Smells, sounds, words, colors – any of these things can trigger something and cause you to have an emotional reaction you didn’t even know existed.

The summer after Lainey, I was at church camp and someone started singing the old hymn, “It Is Well”, and I had a complete breakdown. I couldn’t breathe and I was crying uncontrollably. See, I had sang that song at Lainey’s funeral with my cousin and it was the hardest part of the day. Have you ever sang while fighting back a tremendous amount of tears? Everything hit me at once and for the first time since Lainey’s funeral – I had lost it.

These small triggers are hard to control. Even know when I hear that song or see the lyrics I get a knot in my stomach and I feel like I’m going to vomit. My solution is to simply remove myself from the situation. I can’t control what others are going to say or sing, but I can choose whether I want to listen to it or not.

Should I even be grieving?

Yes. You should be. If you feel the need to grieve – grieve!! Please!!

I had a hard time with this since it wasn’t my baby that I had lost. I didn’t feel like I had the right to grieve. I kept all these emotions in until one day a friend in college told me I needed to see a therapist about all my feelings – I was in a very lonely place at Lainey’s 1st heavenly birthday.

I started therapy, started some anxiety and depression medication and about 5 months later I finally told my mom what was going on. Finally, I had to tell Ty and Rachel what was going on. I don’t know why, but to hear Rachel say I did not need her permission to grieve Lainey was the biggest relief I had ever felt. I could finally feel and work through all these feelings without feeling guilty for it.

So, again, if you feel the need to grieve, please do so.

Is there anything positive to grief?

YES! Although losing Lainey absolutely sucked the joy and life out of our family for a moment, it made each one of us a better person for it.

I think dealing with a tremendous loss like this makes a person brave. Just because our world stopped for a week doesn’t mean the rest of humanity did. We all still had to go back to work, school, families, and day to day life.

There was still a nursery, baby clothes, and gifts that had to be dealt with. There was still people who didn’t know and who would ask about a due date. There was still tiny babies every where that someone else got to be an aunt, mother, and grandmother to.

Persevering and pushing through this pain will give you a thick skin that you never thought you could have.

Grief makes you brave.

I’m not a therapist or a licensed psychologist, but I am an aunt. I am an aunt to two beautiful little children, one of them just happens to be in heaven. If you’re grieving today, yesterday, or anytime I suggest reaching out to your loved ones, your partner, or seeking professional help. You’re not alone in your grief and each day is an uphill climb, but you will reach the top eventually.