Think back to where you were, this time last year, or even several years back. What were you doing? Who were you with? What were you thinking about? What were you feeling? How do all of these things compare to where you are today?
Reflections on my life before and after loss
The bereaved often speak of life being divided into Before and After the death of their loved one. In your life after loss, what do you see as the biggest difference between today and the Before? What physical changes do you see? What emotional changes? What changes to your surroundings and scenery? How do you feel about these changes? How does this affect you?
The bereaved often feel as if they are torn between different aspects of their lives after loss. If you feel torn, what aspects are pulling at you? Do you find yourself conflicted between happiness and grief, or between moving forward and standing still? What feelings are you torn between? What thoughts? What dreams?
‘Sneeches on Beaches’ was one of my favorite books. I remember reading it to my younger brother—him around 2, me reading silly voices even though almost in my teens. These were the books I was excited to receive, wrapped up in cute packaging, back when life was still fine.
Partly through effort, partly through ability, I climbed my way out. I built a new world. And yet, I think I must have subconsciously felt I still had to earn it. Did the old Miranda understand that this too was a legacy?
I am a growing and evolving creature. I am a grieving mother, and I am ALSO so many other things. And this is where I am today–exactly who and where I need to be. And I am both messy and complicated and also uniquely human. And I love being able to accept that and just be okay.
Many years ago in the Before, my then-boyfriend asked me not to say, “I love you, but–“. As he pointed out, the word “but” is minimizing; it negates the importance of everything that came before. I think of this today, and I realize how much more valid my experience feels when I remove any “buts”. It definitely helps.
Before Adrian died, I don’t know that I would have understood this, but it is absolutely possible to parent a child after their death. It looks a little different. It’s still very real. #SeaGlassParenting
I didn’t have much experience with death or grief prior to the death of my son, and so I’m embarrassed that I genuinely used to believe everything was “okay” right after the funeral. This is how it’s often portrayed on TV. This is wrong.
I have grown as person through the death of my son, But I would give up everything I’ve gained to have not had a reason to
I think our culture idealizes those who use their loss or pain as an impetus for personal growth. While I don’t object to how anyone else chooses to live after loss, I do think it’s important to acknowledge that no matter how much growth is achieved, it is NEVER worth the cost. I would certainly give it all up to have my son at home.
In the Before, I always thought of death as a sad experience, but one whose impact would eventually fade. I know now that you never really “get over” the death of someone you love; you can only integrate the loss and pain. And this is a process that is never-ending.
I wonder, sometimes, where to draw the line between a “normal” amount of worry and the amount you feel for a child born after the death of your first. I don’t ever want to stifle her. My pain should never be her burden. And sometimes it just hits me—how much I’ve lost and also hold at the same time.
Before Adrian died, I was a relatively positive person. His death shattered my belief and confidence in the ultimate goodness of the world.
The death of my son changed me as a person more than any other event in my lifetime. The death of a loved one does that.
Death changes you. Permanently.
Before Adrian died, I always thought of tragedy and loss as something that happened to OTHER people, but not to me. Of course I feel differently now.
After losing Adrian to undiagnosed preeclampsia, I was terrified to experience pregnancy for a second time. Terrified, but also holding hope. And my Peanut is finally here. This is her story.
I look back on that time now, and it’s like I’m looking at a different person. That old Miranda lived in a different world, where everything felt like it was possible. And even though it has been almost 3 years since then, I think a lot of people don’t understand I’m not that person anymore.
I caught a glimpse of my tattoo in the mirror the other day. The days move so quickly lately, sometimes I forget it’s there. Sometimes I miss the burning underneath my skin, how it felt when everything was new.
Our old house is for sale. In the photos, it looks cluttered. They have a boy and a girl, fully lived-in rooms. We wouldn’t have had that, not there. It still feels weird to look at.
Walking along the pier with my daughter where I used to walk alone, I think about the drastic changes of the past two years. Despite the sweetness of her new life, I don’t feel thankful for the hardship that preceded her. Life doesn’t work that way.
I’m feeling a bit “better” now. I don’t really know what that word means. But I woke up this morning, and it didn’t hurt to get out of bed.
I haven’t written, lately, because words have felt hard. I haven’t written, lately, because my attention hasn’t been focused on you. And I want to apologize, because I remember those early days when I thought I would never stop thinking about you.
I miss those moments now, that time when I felt complete in my grief. Because now I yearn for community, and it’s missing.
I promised you I’d be okay. I’m really really trying. But sometimes I realize I didn’t know what I was promising.
I finally looked up the plot line of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Ironic that the story seems applicable to me. Ironic that I judged something that now feels maybe powerful.
I see her when I close my eyes. I see her as a child and all grown up, and I think about the ways that I didn’t see you. When I dreamt of you, you were always an adult looking out of a child’s body.
When you’re going through tough times, remember that life is about so much more than feel-good messages you read online
One author would have you believe tough times can be simplified into 8 feel-good steps. But when you’re going through tough times, life is about so much more than feel-good messages you read online.
It hits me sometimes — this time last year I was still pregnant. What happened to my life? What happened to yours?
It’s strange how we perceive change. Today, I can walk 20,000 steps with something like ease. It’s hard to remember the challenge. The change kind of snuck up on me.
I have often examined the symptoms of my grief. It still feels so weird to me. The simplest things now make me cry. I examine those tears under a microscope. I examine everything, all while I’m feeling it.