Losing a Child

 

There are no words that can do justice to the pain of losing a child. It is a nightmare come true and changes your life in ways you could not have imagined. Taylor’s death at age 16 from cancer broke the sacred bond we shared and broke my heart.

The years of surgeries and treatments, hope and despair, health and illness were tough – when someone in the family is seriously ill, it can take Herculean strength to get through. But your love for your child and your zeal to see her healthy and happy keeps your energy going through anything the medical world throws at you.

Loss is another story.

The pain of the separation and the longing for her smile, her voice, and the completeness of our family is impossible to put into words. There have been days when I did not know if I’d ever feel happiness again.

How can you start to see the light when you’ve been thrown into a place of such darkness? I slowly began to focus more on what was in my life and less on what I was missing. The unending love of my husband, my two other daughters, my extended family, and my friends nourished me back to life. There was much to be grateful for and they showed it to me every single day. Even on the days they were in pain and missing Taylor, they showed me how much joy could be mine.

I will never stop mourning Taylor, but to stay in the darkness would be to miss out on the chance to breathe deeply and to love with a full heart again.

Recovery is not easy. It takes time, it has setbacks, it is exhausting, it feels like it will never come. Even when you’re on an upswing, grief can come flooding back without a moment’s notice. When that darkness comes, you can’t and shouldn’t ignore it. But try to focus on what makes you happy to pull yourself slowly towards the full life you so deeply crave and deserve.

Taylor loved the song and the phrase “All You Need Is Love.” I always agreed with her, but also didn’t fully know how true it was until she was gone. Love is the only thing that matters and may be the only thing that can bring meaningful healing. There is a force that keeps us all connected to the people we love. That force kept our family strong during the unbearably hard days of Taylor’s battle against cancer and has helped us heal during our years of grieving.

In your darkest times following a loss, surround yourself with people who love you, who have stayed at your side, who have allowed you to express your despair without judgment or the expectation of anything in return. Most importantly, remember you are not alone.

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