It takes months to build pillars of strength to hold me up, but a moment is all it takes for it to crumble. I’m exhausted and continue to struggle to process this past week. It was Bella’s birthday on Monday. She would have been 4 years old.
For some reason, the day before always seems to be harder for me. I’m not sure if it’s the anticipation or if it’s my way of making the actual day a bit easier. I tend to underestimate how difficult anniversaries are. I expect it to get easier as time passes, but it doesn’t. The reality of child loss is that life gets in the way of your grief and you do begin to live again. But anniversaries bring grief back. Raw grief. With grief comes pain. The type of pain that makes you wish you weren’t alive. It grabs me by the throat and won’t let me breathe. Every. Single. Time.
I can’t imagine what life would be like if Bella were here. So much has changed since she left, many changes were a result of her leaving. The questions don’t stop flowing but there are no answers to these burning thoughts. It’s energy wasted, yet it seems uncontrollable on days like this.
On days like her birthday, I revert to living breath by breath and count down the minutes until the day is over. I’m at a place now that not every day is difficult. I have wonderful days filled with love and laughter. I think and speak about Bella every single day, but on ordinary days, these thoughts and words are not overpowered by pain. On days like her birthday or the anniversary of her passing, not a moment passes that I don’t think of her. I can’t NOT think of her. The day is spent remembering what is missing. On a day such as the anniversary of you child’s birth, how can you think of anything other than the pain of living without them. The thought is inconceivable to any parent…yet this is my reality.
I now understand that twice a year, on June 28th and November 14th, I am allowed to take these days off. I am giving myself permission to be absent from life and allowing myself to step into my grief. I will do whatever I need to do in order to get through these days, regardless of what that looks like (as long as I am not causing anyone else pain). I am learning that on these two days every year, nothing will help me escape the tragedy of losing my baby girl. On these days, I give myself permission to break, crumble, cry, and scream. I allow myself to be angry and sad. I give myself permission to express these feelings. On these days, I am giving myself the gift of the day to myself, to allow grief to run its course.
Every year for Bella’s birthday, I ask my friends and family to help spread love and kindness to honour Bella’s memory with Bella Angel Cards. This year, I raffled off a prize to encourage people to scatter kindness. At first I was disappointed by the lack of involvement, but the few people that participated REALLY understood the meaning. Making people smile feels wonderful and can become addicting. One person had 20 entries and there were 48 entries in total. The winner was drawn randomly although all the storied touched my heart. It was hearing about these random acts of kindness that helped me get through a very difficult day.
After a quiet supper, I invited my parents and Nonna to come over for cake. A birthday wouldn’t be a birthday without cake! Hudson spontaneously sang Happy Birthday to Bella as I brought the cake into the living room. It was beautiful and put a huge smile on my face. I am grateful he is growing up remembering his sister. It’s important that he never forget her. It’s important that we all remember Bella. This is how she lives on.❤️👼🏼
#HappyBirthdayinHeaven #Grief #RawGrief #BirthdayGrief #AnniversaryGrief #ChildLoss #StayStrong❤️