It seems like a lifetime ago and yet it feels like I am still living the moment when I said goodbye to my sweet girl, Ryleigh. There is so much that I wish I would change but know that the gift of hindsight is not to change the past but to use it to live better in the future. I wonder often if that was Ryleigh’s plan as she chose to end the suffering she endured for so long. I believe that Ryleigh wanted each one of us to live better because of her.
At times, I feel selfish for missing her. I wish that she was still sitting on the couch beside me teasing me for my absentmindedness. I wish I were still cooking separate meals for her so that she could at least eat something that agreed with her. I wish I was still caring for her by changing her ileostomy pouch or rubbing her feet. I wish I could see her and Chloe playing with the puppies and loving each other as only sisters can. I feel selfish because although these things made me feel better and connected to her – she was losing her sense of well being and could not fathom living like she was for much longer.
I am overwhelmed by the sense of loneliness I feel. I am not alone – but still feel so lonely. Missing Ryleigh’s energy and enthusiasm has created a void.
Luckily I have many wonderful people helping me figure out how to learn to be who I am know. Losing Ryleigh has changed me forever. I need to learn how to live as this different person. It is not easy. I am grateful for the normalcy of going to work each day and learning with my wonderful students. They teach every day about grit, resilience, getting through challenges, and being compassionate. Being able to focus my energy and time on teaching has allowed me to keep myself a bit distracted.
The pain and grief from losing a child is so hard to explain. I am astounded by the complexity and layers that are unraveling as I try to move through my days as life still goes on. Unfortunately, I have experienced the loss of my mother and other people olse to me. Losing Ryleigh has far surpassed any of those experiences. I am continually taken back to the moments that were the most traumatic for me. My brain does not seem to want me to let go of these moments – finding her, trying to resuscitate, the hospital, and saying goodbye. The hard part is that when I have the many positive memories of Ryleigh my brain and body resort to thinking and remembering the trauma.
I don’t believe time heals all wounds. I believe that time just allows us to develop some coping skills to make it through another day.
As I reflect on this 24th day of January — I hope that the people in my life who are hurting and feeling lost find some peace. I hope that my actions or lack of action has not contributed to anybody’s hurt or pain. I feel so different then how I was 4+ months ago. I can only hope that the positives will outweigh the negatives.
Be kind to one another…you never know what the person beside you may have endured.
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