Today is the one year anniversary of the birth of our angel baby, Savannah.
Do you think anniversaries are a funny concept?
Let me elaborate
A marriage anniversary is a day that you celebrate your marriage to your sweet heart. A birthday is an anniversary of someones birth where you spend the day celebrating that person. If we're continuing on with that same pattern I guess an angel anniversary is a day to celebrate someone that has moved on to the other side.
I had a friend once tell me she hated mothers day. "Don't do nice things for me one day a year just because you are supposed to" she would say, "show me you love me all year because you do!"
Although I must admit I DO love birthdays, anniversaries, mothers day etc... any day really that provides and excuse for a celebration.. especially if said celebration involves icecream or chocolate covered strawberries.. anything edible really.
But we should probably celebrate life and those that we love all throughout the year.
I though this day might feel a little different, but to be honest it doesn't. I played Candy Land with my kids this morning. I dropped Mister Mischief off at preschool and Miss Thang and I headed to the gym. My mother in law and sisters in law came over for lunch. We ate, chatted, had fun as usual. I gave in and ate that cinnamon roll I swore I wasn't going to touch.
I thought I might feel the need to do something out of the ordinary, but I didn't. I thought maybe bad memories would come flooding back, but they didn't. I feel fine and I feel happy, because I have a really good life! I can honestly say that I am finally to the point that life feels normal again. I thought I would forever have this little cloud of "dead baby gloom" hovering over my head. I thought that from here on out the birth of my angel baby would define me. I thought I could never be like other people because my baby died. But the truth is, I can, because I have chosen to be.
I am forever changed, and for the better. I have learned more from this one gift from God than from a lifetime of good and bad decisions I have made for myself. I wouldn't change this experience for the world. There have been up times and down times, BUT I can say that the sadness is not hanging over me anymore. This was always the plan for our little family and I can finally say that I accept that and am moving forward. And it feels good.
But to make this not just a meaningless day I would like to share a few things I've learned from this experience. After all, it would be a wasted experience if I didn't make sure something good came of it.
1. You are much stronger than you think you are. God trusts you so trust yourself. Give yourself some credit.
2. "Man is that he might have joy" This whole journey through life is leading up to the ultimate goal of eternal happiness. We are to learn everything we need to learn to be happier than we can ever imagine. Can you really expect to find eternal happiness if all you do is chase after sadness? Eventually you end up with what you catch, and what you catch is what you were chasing after. Hard things happen in life, but there is still joy to be found in life... happening RIGHT NOW. Don't miss it. I can promise you that those things that are causing you heart ache in the first place will end up enriching your happiness in one way or another in the long run anyway.
3.You have to let yourself grieve, but you also have to let yourself be happy. Grieving is part of the healing process, but so is happiness. You cannot say that you are completely healed if you are not happy yet. But happiness comes from within. It comes from having trust in the Lord and faith in yourself. No one else can make you be happy. That is your own decision. Give yourself time to mourn. But when you feel like you are ready to let go of the agonizing grief let go completely. Don't look back. Rehashing painful memories only brings sadness and Satan will pray on you and use it to bring you down. It is okay to look back on the positive, beautiful things that have come from an experience, but allowing yourself to relive the pain over and over again does nothing good.
3. Helping others is the best way to heal. I used to think this meant being sad with others, but I'm realizing now that even better that that is to share with others how I found happiness again and what helped me in my healing process. Pain is comfortable sometimes, but doesn't heal your heart and bring you true happiness.
4. Other people will never truly understand. And that is okay. We all have different journies in life. I used to get so frustrated when others didn't understand my heart ache at losing a child I never knew. But that is not their lot in life. They have other challenges to face and other opportunities for learning. I will not understand some of the trials they face. You have to be okay with yourself. You have to really involve the Lord and decide what is the best path for you to take, without worrying what other people think. And you just can't judge other people for not reading your mind. At the same time I really try to keep this in mind when I do come across someone that I do not understand and try to think about how I wanted to be treated when I was misunderstood.
4. Any experience is a wasted experience if you don't use it to better your life and the lives of those around you. Good or bad. Be proactive. You can't always choose what happens to you in life, but you do get to choose what you do with it and if it impacts you for the good or bad. This is a hard one to accept at times, but it is absolutely true.
5. LOOK for opportunities to learn and feel blessed. This is great for any time in life, but especially during times when you are struggling to feel happy. The Lord has a way of jam packing a billion tiny little lessons into each experience we have in life. We just tend to analize the drastic ones more than the every day ones. We become much more effective in life when we use these to our advantage and also to the advantage of those around us. Life can be so much richer than just a three hour long shopping trip of terror with two screaming toddlers and someone that just happened to smiled at you with an understanding smile. It just depends on what you choose to focus on.
These are just a few things I've learned.
What would YOU add to the list?