I consider myself a fortunate person with a blessed life.
But I have been both the giver and receiver of lemons.
And I guess losing our daughter was a lemon. I think we can all agree on that.
But no matter what happens to me in my life, no matter what experiences I am thrown into, I have the opportunity to ask myself these questions;
Will this experience harden me, or soften me?
Will I let this experience close me down or open me up?
Will this experience turn me into a rock, or crack me open?
Will this experience shrink me, or will it grow me?
I don’t have control over the cards I am dealt, or have been dealt, or will be dealt. But I can choose what I do with it. It’s cliche, but there is so much truth in that.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t sadness. There is so much sadness. Sometimes I feel like that’s all there is. Everything overflows with it.
But you see, I believe that you can go through the most awful things, and you don’t have to think it’s great or even say it’s great (Read Why I’m not a positive person), but we do have the option to allow the experience to expand us. And that’s what I always look towards and move towards. A more expansive life and a more expansive way of being. And I’m lucky because I find that in my life, I’m prescribed just the right experiences for me that can create that kind of growth – if I let it. We all are.
Going through the loss of my daughter has softened me. Because I chose to let it do that. I feel blessed with the opportunity to know the delicacy and vibrancy of life and what it is to be alive, and what it is to not be. I was able to see life and death so closely, so intimately, in a way that I had never known before. As a spiritual seeker, this was very important to me. Experiencing the preciousness of life, and the sacredness of death has softened me. It makes me wake up each morning with a sense of reverence.
Going through the loss of my daughter has opened me up. It gave me the opportunity to be vulnerability and share that vulnerability with you. And in that sharing, I met a community of STRONG women who walk the same path as I and have shown me that strength and vulnerability are intertwined. And I have met a community of LOVING humans who have not walked this same path, but who hold me and carry me as I walk mine. This experience has shown me what it is to be honest, and to share the shadowy parts of my life that are no less beautiful, no less holy, than the lightness. It has allowed me to give a voice to the silent parts of me.
Going through the loss of my daughter has cracked me open. I’m no longer so rigid in my own ways and ideas. I stopped planning. I stopped expecting. And I’m so free now.
Going through the loss of my daughter has grown me. I never knew what to say in difficult situations, but now I do. I never knew loss and life after loss, but now I do. I never knew what it was to be a mother, but now I do.
Life is a gift.
I heard it before,
but now I know it.
Really sorry about you loss, have been reading your stuff for a while, it’s a hard life regardless of the challenges and cards we are dealt. Express your grief and loss and it will get easier, never better, but easier at least. Wishing you and your family love. Take care.
Thank you for reaching out to me, and for your kind words. Thank you for creating a perfect and supportive space for me to express my grief. I like and agree with what you said that loss will get easier, never better, but easier. It sounds like a strange thing to say – but it is so true. Thank you for understanding.
I love your writing and your ability to express your honesty and I have to say, your self reflection (kind of reminds me of “Jane Eyre”) and sharing has helped me with my own life. So sorry for your loss; I wouldn’t begin to know how it feels. Please go on being you, you’re pretty awesome and I love to “catch-up” with your musings when I have a chance. In my experience, grief and loss does get easier, though it never goes completely away.
Lots of love to you and your family.
Pavel, thank you for taking the time to share your kindness with me. It’s very encouraging for me. I’ve never read Jane Eyre – it’s been on my reading list for some time, but medical school seriously killed my passion for reading for pleasure! I’m trying to slowly rehabilitate myself back into it now. So, why Jane Eyre – what makes you say that? 🙂 Do you think it’s a book I would enjoy?
I appreciate your condolences and accept them with gratitude. Thank you. Love to you too.
I’ve not gone to Medical school but I know enough to imagine the reading requirements are insane and can easily imagine you, after graduation, not wanting to read anything more difficult than a TV guide for a little while! 😉
Why Jane Eyre? I’ll try not to “spoil” any part of the book in case you do decide to read it later.
Jane Eyre is easily my favorite literary heroine! Even though she’s a poor orphan who’s at the whim of forces beyond her control, she has a very strong moral compass and isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability AND her strength. “Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since, birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” She has a great capacity for self reflection and is a great observer of the human condition and of using that knowledge fairly to to protect herself from the world and to help herself and others. To be fair, I obviously don’t know you “personally” but your posts (the ones I’ve read up to now) show these qualities.
One of my favorite posts of yours, until recently, was the one where you wrote a list of things for self improvement (Watch a Ted Talk every day, read for at least a half hour a day, learn more about your job, read classics, etc…) I actually wrote those up on a piece of paper and pinned them up on my wall at work! Those were wonderful reminders because it’s easy to become complacent and, honestly, stagnant, and your post was a perfect way to remind oneself to learn and grow daily.
Then I found your birthday “lessons,” starting this last one when you turned 27. (Happy Belated Birthday, by the way!) and I continue to be amazed and grateful to have found you with your reflections and your life story, at least the stuff you want to share with us.
Pavel, I feel like I simply must pick up this book right away. And once I do, and once I complete it, you will surely be the first to know about it 🙂
And I certainly don’t feel deserving to be compared to her. But I am very humbled to think that you think so.
Ahh, my 18 ways to educate yourself post. I wrote that many years ago and I never thought it would become as popular as it did. Glad that was the post that welcomed you to my blog. And I’m glad that since then you’ve found other posts that you have liked too.
Thank you so much for reading my blog. Honestly, even after writing this blog for years, it really surprises me to know there are people who read this. Thank you for taking the time of your day to read something I have created. I am so grateful for that. And then for taking the time to write to me – your encouragement means a lot to me, and makes me want to keep writing and keep sharing.
I look forward to getting to know you more 🙂
I’ve been an occasional visitor to your blog for over a year now. The post that brought me to it what one where you described how you ask for signs from angels. I remember it resonating with me a lot and that from that moment on, whenever I truely needed a sign, it would come.
I’m very sorry to read about your loss and I hope you are doing well. What led me to commenting today is your description in this post of how you’ve been navigating through the experience of loss. I’d been going through an immensely tough time recently and could not get through it. It was an experience where my beliefs about life and humanity as I knew it were dismantled in a perspective-altering way. It was in every sense a loss. I have slowly worked through this over several months. Your comments about vulnerability, strength and the preciousness of life just reminded me of that time, but in a way that helps towards processing it further.
Thank you for writing this beautiful post.
Thank you so much for sharing a part of your story and your heart with me. Life can be very difficult sometimes, what more can I say? Thank you for being with me in my hard times, and I’m with you in yours.