No one can deny when you bury a child your life will forever be split. There will always be a “before loss” you and an “after loss” you. I often hear others talk about their old life and their “new normal”. While that is true, I prefer not to call my after loss life a “new normal”.
There is no normal path in grief. We each take steps differently. We find some paths better than others. When you are in your deepest grief, the words “new normal” seem to imply this terrible state you are currently in. I found myself trying to find a better way to describe the very harsh divide. We simply call our split the “before Clara died” and “after Clara died”. Both contain good and bad but they are just plain different.
I must admit, I sometimes struggle to remember the “before Clara” me. It feels so far in the past and today I am nowhere near the woman I was then. I know there was a beautiful, strong woman that blazed a path through the world before Clara. Today I still have some of those same traits but I am changed. I see much beauty in that change. I think that was the hardest part of the “after Clara died” timeframe. It can be hard to accept that there were good things that came out of the loss of Clara. My soul has been made more beautiful.
Today I chose an image of these two lovely pieces of china from our wedding. Here is the deal. I was so busy with life that I didn’t open our boxes of china until early this summer. When I opened the package I got quite a shock. One box had 2 different styles. I called to request an exchange only to find out that they won’t do that 8 years later. It took me some time to realized that this just goes right along with our story. Gone is the plan of having at least one set of matching dishes. Today I look forward to a treasured wedding story we will share with the kids.
Life situations can’t always be let go as easily as my dish problem. Some days I wish I could go back to things I loved about the old me. It was a much more simple life. Instead, I try to focus on the future and see the beauty that is ahead. I want to embrace the new things I have found in my grief to help others. I enjoy the writing and cakes and the special heart skills I didn’t know were hidden in me before Clara died. It is in letting go of the life we planned (and the anger of losing it), that we can embrace the future and see the good changes in ourselves.