Choosing Happiness

I’ve spent a lot of time punishing myself.  When your baby dies it’s hard to see beyond the fact that you feel like a failure as a parent, and a human being.  As a mother, my only job was to keep my baby safe and alive. And I failed. Was it my fault? No. I know that. But the overwhelming sense of guilt sometimes causes me to punish myself for feeling anything but incredible sadness.

It’s hard for anyone who hasn’t walked in my shoes to imagine. The only  way I can possibly draw some parallel for those with living children is to imagine a time something has happened to your child – a bumped head or a scarped knee- because you maybe turned your back for a second. Imagine that guilt. Imagine how you questioned in that instant “if only I hadn’t turned my back for a second?”. Imagine that times about eight hundred million. I will always question what I could have done differently to save her, and I will always feel guilty that I am the one that lived while she was the one that died. It’s a mother’s guilt.

I’ve been trying very hard for the last little while to wake up and choose to be happy that day. Happiness has to be a choice for me.  I don’t just wake up feeling that way. I wake up every day with a feeling of emptiness, and that looming sense that something is missing. I honestly believe that every day for the rest of my life will have that hole in it. I will always wake up feeling sad and confused and empty Therefore, I have to make the conscious choice that despite everything that is missing, it’s still OK to feel happiness.  I deserve to be happy.  Worrying and punishing myself will never change the outcome of what has happened.  I have to start treating the world better than it has treated me, or I will never have a good day again.

These last two months I feel like I have turned a corner on my grief.

I still have awful days. I didn’t anticipate how hard Halloween would be. It makes me fear Christmas. I sat on my couch, home alone on Halloween night, begging to the universe not to send any more trick-or-treaters to my door. I cried my heart out over a “my first Halloween” sleeper that I had bought last year. I hugged it to my chest and cried. I cried because I should have been out with Everlee in her octopus costume. I cried for all of my lost dreams.

But those days are becoming farther between. I’m choosing every day to find some happiness, and to feel the love that I am so lucky to have found in my life.  I can’t believe that when things change I will be happy, instead now I am trying to believe that when I am happy things will change. I have found a place where I accept that I can be happy, and be still be sad and be grieving at the same time.  I don’t need to feel guilty when I laugh, or when I love. It’s not betraying my daughter to find happiness in my life.

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. 

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6 thoughts on “Choosing Happiness

  1. YOU DESERVE EVERY HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD..XO AND IAM SO HAPPY YOU HAVE CHOSEN HAPPINESS ..I LOVE YOU RHONDA ROSELLA PITTMAN MCMEEKEN !!!!!

  2. I don’t know if this would help or hurt, but some I know who have lost children buy something age appropriate for the holiday and donate it to a foster child. it’s painful no matter what but giving a gift to a child who has no mother helps them. Others I know would find it too painful and too much about what’s lost. I will be adding a child to my list this year for Everlee.

  3. I know it isn’t the same as the loss of a child, I know it’s not; but I think that everyone who has felt traumatic loss can at least understand that feeling that there will always be a hole. There will always be pain, and it never goes away … you just learn to live with it and not let it constantly overwhelm you. Instead, it overwhelms you in bursts when you least expect it. But, those bursts do space out in time, and choosing happiness is a really important step.

    I find myself aching a bit whenever I think about you and Everlee, and I know that I can’t even begin to comprehend the way that you must feel … but you’re a beautiful and amazing woman, and you honor Everlee in such amazing and beautiful ways; even just by being you. Choosing happiness IS honoring her. She would want her mommy to be as happy as possible.

    Though many of us cannot understand what you’re going through, you’re not alone, and we are so grateful that you share yourself and your heart with all of us.

  4. Your angel will be loving seeing you happy. You are amazing and have touched my heart all the way across the world in New Zealand. Sending huge happy thoughts your way.

  5. Thank you. I’m not sure that I’m strong enough to do what you’re proposing-but I hope that someday I will get there. I wish you the best in embracing love and happiness in your life-and for being able to accept what has happened enough to take a daily (positive) step forward. Thank you for sharing your personal feelings… I can definitely relate. 🙂

  6. “Everlee Rose” must be on top on the list of people who definitely wants to see you happy… She would always want that and you definitely deserve to happy. As much as anyone around !! Lots of love and Happiness to you.

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