Do one small thing to make today better than yesterday. Mission accomplished.
In June of 2013, I invited you all into our lives after we lost our son Anthony Ryan. At first I had no idea what I was going to write about, or even what I wanted you all to know. I decided you all needed to know the truth and the true effects of loss. I wanted you to read about my journey of starting over, expecting the unexpected, and how I chose to cope. How my journey began in picking up the broken pieces. Rebuilding my relationship with Christ, as I had started to pull away from him.
Over the last year I have had so many emails, personal messages on Facebook from mommies who have lost their children, or have been close to it. They have thanked me for sharing my story, being so open and so brave, as most didn’t know what all we had/have to endure.
I then realized this is why ‘Beyond The Veil’ was birthed. So many parents could relate to my feelings, and get peace that they were not alone, that the feelings and thoughts they were having were normal. ‘Beyond The Veil’ became not only a place for me to express who I am or what I was feeling, but a voice for all who were not able to speak up without being ridiculed or becoming an outcast to family and friends because they just wouldn’t ‘snap out of it’.
I am not sure what everyone wants to read or hear from me on a daily basis, or even if they want to hear it, but I post it anyways. These are my feelings, my innermost thoughts, and I refuse to hide them. Just my being honest. This blog has become my normal way of life, my place I can come to when I need to let it out so I can continue to heal. I am in no way perfect and do not claim to be. I refuse to call myself a grieving parent because grief is something you do, not who you are. Through this blog I have found myself again, doing what I love, and this is writing (it’s not always perfect) and photography.
I hope whoever is reading this will understand why I blog, and I hope it has blessed your lives in some way or another.
Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there signifies strength, but there are times in life when it takes much more strength to just let go.
Eighteen months later I have learned to hold on to the memories of my son, and let go of the pain. Does the pain come back from time to time? I would be a liar if I told you no. I am a human, a mother, a expecting mother (yes Anthony is going to be a big brother) and there are days when I just stop in my tracks and hold my chest as it feels like my heart is broken. I then remind myself that my heart is no longer broken, but the pains are signs that God is putting the pieces back together…and nobody said it would feel great. I asked him to heal my broken heart, and He is doing just that.
Some of you may feel like you are still at day one, and it may feel that way…but over the last year and a half I have watched a few of you that follow my blog grow stronger, braver, and I pray that one day you turn your pain into a compassion to help others. You have more to offer than you’ll ever know!
Strong (adjective)- 1-having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks; 2-able to withstand great force or pressure. (Webster’s dictionary)
How many times have people told you ‘to be strong’ or that ‘you are strong’?
It wasn’t till after the loss of Anthony Ryan I kept hearing the word ‘strong’ from everyone. Friends and family reassuring me that I am ‘strong’, that I can do this.
What exactly was I supposed to be doing/feeling?
I can honestly tell you, to begin with I sure didn’t feel strong. I didn’t even know how to be strong.
I tried everything…I got up and went to work daily with a smile on my face. Joked around with a few coworkers. I tried to do and be everything I was before we lost Anthony. And for some reason that just didn’t feel right. It felt as if I was taking a shower with clothing on. I was fake, and on the inside I was hurting. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing!
As I sit and think, I find the human race very interesting. We are so quick to tell people how to feel, how to act, what to think. What’s right and what’s wrong. We try to find a quick solution for everything, but sadly we set ourselves up for failure.
After many attempts of trying to be superwoman and trying to look strong, I finally realized that you can’t just look the part-you have to actually become it.
So, you may ask, what did I do?
I finally broke down and accepted that I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed to seek the Lord on this. His word promises to give us strength in ALL things we do. That means enduring the loss of a loved one.
Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
Philippians 4 :11-13 (NKJV) Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Other things that helped me heal:
Shared my story- I started this blog to help others realize they are not alone. I wanted you to know everything I went through, my daily thoughts, my memories of my loss, and how I was feeling on a typical day.
I even started to reach out for help within my community. I found others online and locally that have went through a loss and survived it. I communicated with my spouse, expressing how I was feeling, what I was feeling.
We didn’t have a support group in our community, so we started one!
I stopped putting a time limit on my grieving, but I also didn’t allow my grieving to consume me. I found hobbies, books to read to pass the time so I wouldn’t focus on the sad stuff so much.
I cried when I felt like it. Just let it out!
I learned how to remember the good instead of the bad. In all tragedy there is something positive. I embraced the memories of every doctors appointment, every ultrasound, and laughed at every single thing I did while I was pregnant with Anthony. Looking back at his photos and thanking God for the time we had with him gets me thru the day.
Never think that because you have finally found happiness through all the sorrows and shed tears that it means you have forgotten your child. You will never forget your child! And your child wants you to be happy and live a full life. They want you to live and carry on their legend, to reach out to others that are hurting and help them start the healing process. They want you to be content, and they want you to be strong!
Wow…I can’t believe it’s already been a year! As I look back on all my posts, I am in such awe and my heart swells with joy. At first I thought this was a bad idea blogging about my feelings and milestones, but I was proved wrong! I have made so many friends around the world and been able to help others that are taking the same road as me. My son may have never walked this earth, but he sure has taken me out of my comfort zone, and taken me places and brought me people I would never have imagined crossing paths with. Thank you all for your support along the way! But most of all I thank God, because without him none of this would have been possible!
In case you missed it, my first ever video on loss, and how it has changed my relationship with God:
Sometimes I get so frustrated that I forget to listen…I mean really LISTEN. I been having a hard time stepping out of my comfort zone here lately, worried about how I would look or what others would think. I had a doctors appt last Monday and I could tell my doctor was having a rough day. I felt led numerous times to give her a hug, but was worried she wouldn’t hug back. But yesterday when I went back for a follow up she was just as upset as she appeared last week. This time when I felt led to give her a hug I just plainly asked her if I could, and she said she really could use one-so we stood there hugging and crying. I told her that last week I felt led to give her a hug and she said “I really could have used it. It was my daughter’s birthday who had passed away 11 years ago.” Let this be a lesson to you all. People won’t always tell you verbally what they really need when they are down. We are so used to using just our ears to listen. Sometimes, we just need to use our hearts
I am walking in memory of my son Anthony Ryan, who was born prematurely at 18 weeks, and walking in honor of his cousin TayQuan Kaven. He was born at 31 weeks 5 days and spent 3 weeks in the NICU. He is now 5 months old and loves to ‘talk’.
Please support my walk. Making a secure donation is easy: just click the link below and click the ‘donate now’ button on this page. Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start!