Saturday, August 3, 2013

Grieving Is The Only Way Through Grief.

8 weeks ago today I held Gabrielle for the last time.  I rubbed her soft blond hair on her head, ran my hands up and down her arms and legs, kissed her over and over, held her hand and whispered in her ear how much I loved my little girl. I reminded her of how proud we were of her and thanked her for bringing so much joy to our lives.  I stayed strong for her because I didn't want her to be scared.  I wanted to fill her up with as much of my love as I could, and I did so until her very last breath.

And then I collapsed.

And I have been trying to get back up ever since.

Grieving is very, very painful.  It seeps into all aspects of your life and I want nothing more than to coccoon in my house for days, weeks, years. The 'idea' of ever waking up in the morning and being happy again just seems completely impossible. It's so hard not to feel like life seems pointless and hopeless.  It doesn't help that there are no traditions to signal a grieving mother. I try to wear dark colours, I wear a rose petal necklace I got from a bereaved mother and friend, and I do things in my house to honour the life of my little Gabrielle. My heart beams with love, sadness and pride when I hear people speak her name and share their memories of her. Nothing makes me happier.

Grief hits you in waves like waves crashing in on the shore.  There are moments when you feel okay and then you see something in the corner of your eye that reminds you... and grief knocks you over.  A song, a smell, a toy. And you think 'how can I possibly keep going?'  How can I get back up?  The intense grief comes and goes and you get used to sitting with sadness. And the sadness feels good.  There is no other place I would rather be.  Grief is allowing me to stay true to my heart, and my heart is broken. I'm learning that grieving is the only way through grief.


  1. Bruriah and Meir were blessed with two boys. Lively and bright, the boys brought their parents much joy.
    Then, one afternoon, while their father was lecturing in the study hall, both sons fell suddenly ill and died. When Meir returned home that evening, his wife greeted him at the door.
    "A man lent me a fine gift," she told him, "and now he has come and asked me to return it."
    "So what is the problem?" Meir asked. "If it was borrowed, it must be returned."
    "The problem is that the gift is something that I cherish very much and it is hard for me to part with it," she answered.
    "But it is not yours," her husband replied. "You should be thankful that this man lent you something that gave you such pleasure and be happy to return it."
    And then Bruriah led her husband to the next room where their two sons lay still in their bed.
    Life goes on. There is more joy yet to come. We cherish life and mourn its passing only because life is good.

  2. I'd been very "sheltered" my whole life, never knew anyone with a disability or condition or syndrome or whatever name you want to put on it. I'd see kids in the mall or something and would wonder what was "wrong" with them, not seeing beyond the physical. For that I'm so ashamed.
    Then I started volunteering at Canuck Place in spring 2012. Gabrielle was one of the first kids I spent time with. She was the first "unusual" looking person I ever knew. Within the first 5 minutes with her, I fell in love. So adorably cute with her fuzzy blond hair and bright eyes that follow you everywhere. And such a little copycat .. what a beautiful child. I got to feed her a few times ... so cute when she decided she was full and closed her little lips up tight and shook her head ... and sat with her at bedtime as she laid in her bed drinking her bottle with her little pillow propping her up, then just went to sleep.
    Although my time with Gabby was so little compared to her family and friends, I miss her too. It's impossible not to smile when I think of her though, a beautiful little angel that I feel blessed to have spent time with.