“Mommy, there are pilots at the door.”
Those seven words, those simple syllables, they changed everything.
When I came to, I made the necessary phone calls, at first it came out as a whisper and then just screams. I did not know I was capable of making that sound. The first month I do not remember. I try, and moments will flood my mind but they are pieces to a story that I may never revive. That I do not care to know. I do remember what it felt like when my heart broke though. You do not forget that feeling. The ripping pain in your chest, tearing away from your soul. I thought I was going to die, and some nights begged for death to take me as well.
Throughout the first few months I was completely numb, or I felt nothing and everything all at once. I tried to avoid the grief that followed me around like a dark cloud, unfortunately grief is all encompassing.
Ultimately, I knew. I knew I had to let my grief take over and just “lean in”. Expressing emotions was never my strong suit. At least not coherently, so this part of me that was left in the rubble, this was familiar. My world had collapsed into an abyss of misery and torture. I hated my husband, I hated myself. I was spiraling deeper into desolation. A victim of tragedy and I wanted everyone to know it. I expected someone, anyone, to fix this. To make the nightmare stop.
Then I began writing.
The words poured out of me, not always making sense but the release was hard to ignore. As soon as I got them out of me it was as if the feelings did not belong to me anymore. They were mine, I had felt them but they no longer controlled me. I started seeing my therapist soon after and between writing the hard truths and saying them out loud, I began to heal.
Death is messy but I was ready to clean up this mess. I wanted my life back, at first I wanted to die with my husband but I knew that was not an option. There were two beautiful versions of he and I watching me, day in and day out. This was not just about me, they had lost their father too, and I was all they had left. They needed me and I needed them. I was determined. They did not deserve to lose both parents. Not if I could help it.
I am not going to lie, the first year was brutal and I had to face the reality that no one could make me happy. No one could “fix” this, just me. As difficult as it was to admit and realize, it was freeing. I was in control of my destiny and my happiness. No one else had access to this part of me, my core.
I am a warrior.
This is when the shift came. My attitude went from “poor me” to “why not me”. Tragedy is not partial to just one gender, age bracket or race. It will, at one point, affect us all. And I want to be there to help others pick up the pieces.
Be a lighthouse, steady and bright, a promise of hope for those walking through hell.
Now I know my purpose and my life is a testament to what I need to do to keep moving forward. Never back. That I could be saved. My heart could be repaired and mended. As scarred as it is there is a love bursting at those scarred seams that refuses to be ignored. The two who call me “mommy” will know I did not give up, that I will never give up.
There may be dark days ahead, I do not know what will come but I do know I am ready. Fear no longer controls my emotions. I walk hand and hand with my grief. It is a part of me, a part of my trips around the sun. This acceptance, this hope of possibility is where my heart dwells now. It is beautiful here.
Still a bit messy but oh so beautiful.