After Lukas died, I was completely broken. I knew in the deep recesses of my brain (what I like to call my “intellectual” side) I knew I would eventually not feel as broken and would be able to put my life back together again. It would never be what I thought, planned or hoped it would be, but I knew I would learn how to live without my son. My emotional side kept telling me, “you know, I’m not so sure about that” and to prove it, my tears ran down my face uncontrollably, my jealousy raged wildly, my anger exploded at seemingly “nothing”. It took me about a year for both sides of my brain to join forces and work together, so I could live my life. And I have ever since.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that Lukas’ death was the beginning of me finding my voice. My voice about grief is loud and strong and passionate and has been since the day he died. Finding my voice means I express myself and tell the truth. I speak with kindness. In that first year when people said such incredibly stupid things to me and I said nothing, I vowed I wasn’t going to live in regret for not saying anything to counter act what was said to me. I now speak my voice when I disagree with someone. I speak my voice when I am advocating for someone or something. I speak my voice when I still hear stupid comments.
Speaking up for myself when I was grieving the loss Lukas, I found to be so difficult. I wanted my friends and family to be there for me, but I didn’t know what that meant. I knew I wanted them to respect my grief and accept me the way I was. My son died and they couldn’t wish away or talk me out of my grief. It was well earned The Nancy they all knew was gone. She was no longer. A new Nancy would emerge and bring those parts that were familiar and likeable; however, there would also be noticeable changes to the newer model. They were the fingerprints emblazoned on me by Lukas.
I accepted where I was throughout my grief. I gave myself permission to grieve. If living my grief was so difficult for others to watch, then I invited them not to watch me. This was not about them. This was about me. I would take that attitude of “I know what I am doing” to open other doors in my life, and find my voice for them. Lukas changed everything and he caused a slow ripple effect to other areas of my life. It’s taken 37 years but I have finally found my voice for everything.
Yes, grief makes us feel helpless, but you can, if you want to not only “survive” the death of your baby, but also have a thriving life, let your grief empower you. Listen to what your grief is saying.