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.