Seven years after the life and death of my daughter, I see patterns in my grief. There are times of the year that are more difficult – like now, as I approach her birthday. While Ashlynn’s birthday continues to be a day of celebration for us, the time leading up to her birthday evokes a range of emotion. I am often restless and feel unsettled.
While I am not preparing birthday celebrations of the typical variety, I am preparing a way to honor her life on her birthday. And so, I want it to be special. I want it to be meaningful. I want it to demonstrate my love for her. But throughout all the thought and preparations, I am keenly aware of her absence. Thus the restlessness.
In the past, I’ve berated myself for allowing these unsettled feelings to take root. But this year, evidence that grief is a journey and a process, I am extending myself some extra grace. It’s OK that I may not be able to articulate my feelings or that I react to daily life in atypical ways during these few weeks. I am choosing to embrace the freedom to focus on her life and fully grieve the loss of her presence. And, I’m choosing to call it progress.
I hope you’ll give yourself permission to embrace your grief where ever you are in your journey. Feel it instead of ignoring it. Identify it. Accept it as a part of reality. Because I believe that in doing so, it takes us to the next level of healing. The timeline of grief is not linear and our response to grief will fluctuate over time. Instead of fearing it, let’s embrace it… in memory of our loved one.
Copyright Cindy Shufflebarger
Updated: August 16, 2013