Photography by Sarah Renzoni
I wanted to share some of the lessons that I learned, as I'm a big advocate of taking your negatives and making them positives. Everyone is different, and everyone heals differently, but these were my biggest take away.
1. Keeping your struggles in only hurts yourself. I think for me, it was that fact that if I shared with everyone what was going on, it would become reality. Looking back, I could have used all of the support and prayers while we went through this struggle. I think I just didn't want it to be true, and I just wanted everything to work out so badly that I was afraid to say it out loud. If I did, maybe then people would have understood why I was hesitant to get extremely excited, or they would have been able to support me through everything.
2. Family is the center of all. Our family was our rock throughout this whole experience. They stepped up in ways that I couldn't have even imagined. Without them, we would be no where.
3. Some people don't know what to say--some don't say anything, some say the wrong thing. Even if they say the wrong thing, they never meant to hurt you. Saying something is always better than saying nothing. Not everyone can understand what you are going through, and they have to speak from their own life experiences and beliefs. I would much rather have had someone say something than not, as it was always on my mind especially in the beginning. I felt much more at ease when someone acknowledge my loss, even saying I'm so sorry for your loss.
4. What we plan for is not always what was meant to be for us. As most of you know, I am a huge planner. I am a very regimented person. I like to be prepared and ready. This however made me realize that a lot of things in life are out of our control. I guess this was what was supposed to happen. As the doctor's said, it was God's way of telling us they were not ready for the world. They are our forever angels. This was a very difficult lesson to learn for me, but it is important to accept the way God and the universe are working.
5. One should never have to bury their own child, no matter what age. The feeling of helplessness seeing them being buried in the ground seemed so wrong to me. As I was looking down in the ground with all of the ants crawling around, it made me feel so empty. I often felt like I was abandoning them. Looking back now, I am glad that we buried them instead of having their ashes in an urn. We have a place to go visit, and honor them when we need to. Every year on their birthday, we let off white lanterns or white balloons in their honor. We do this at the grave site, as that is where we feel closest to them.
6. The kindness of some people is really astonishing. It seems like the ones that have the least give the most. Life is a blessing, and we are lucky to have so many giving and supportive people in our lives.
7. It never goes away. It gets easier, but the pain never truly goes away. It is a different kind of pain now. They forever changed me, and there will forever be a place in my heart for them.
8. Never compare situations. A loss is a loss. Saying it could always be worse to someone that is dealing with grief, is a pretty difficult concept to understand. There are a ton of situations where I have thought of situations that were a lot worse, but with this loss, the heart break ,could not compare to anyone in my eyes. Looking back now, I do realize that there are many "worse off" situations, but at the time of healing or coming from someone that has not experienced a loss, it better off to not compare. I recently had a friend of mine go through a loss, and she said it is nothing compared to what you went through. I never once thought that. A loss is a loss and we all cope in different ways. It's important to support each other and understand that everyone heals in different ways, and at different times.
9. Life truly is unfair. Bottom line, and it's okay to say it. I got many caring cards from so many friends but the one that always stuck out to me was when a friend wrote this is so unfair. I'm so sorry. That is exactly how I felt when I read it.
10. It does get better. As I said before, it never goes away, but it does get easier. It's gradual steps. It's shocking to me that I can sometimes talk about Hunter and Chance without tears pouring out. I still get tears in my eyes, but before I would end up sobbing. I still to this day get "flashbacks" of what happened, but it is a little reminder to me of how precious life really is.
If you don't know my story, click here. I hope that these lessons help others going through a difficult time, or they help others support their friend or family member that is going through a loss. Be accepting and listen as I said before, "The best is yet to come."