I knew the holidays would be hard but I'm not sure my fragile heart was ready. I've been ugly crying for two days. It's family time and a time of year to be thankful, so pass the mashed potatoes and the tissues please.
Ive added to this post several times over the months and I'm sure it isn't finished. l have the privledge of learning a thing or two from our Piper, although she did not ever take a breath. The most important lesson to me is that love my momma talked about. That love so deep it's physical. That love that sets your soul on fire. I have to love my child from the earth side so it's ever more fierce. To know that there is that love in the world, admist all the hate, is beautiful.
I learned that everyone has a story and be careful to pass judgement. I've said aloud that there are 'rubber neckers'. People I harshly named that want to get close enough to see the tragedy but ultimately want to drive on by then call their friends to say, see that wreck that is me, on I-64. Truthfully, everyone has their own story and their own tragedy to contend. It may not be the same but it could be the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Pain is pain.
I learned that grief is freeing. After Piper died, people shared stories of their own losses. Ranging from child loss, infertility issues to siblings and parents passing. I welcomed it. In the immediate weeks after my daughter died, I worked hard not to yell at strangers at Food Lion about this beautiful, blonde that is forever sleeping. There's a society cap on sympathy and an overall discomfort in speaking of the dead. Given the freedom, people will unburden. Piper's death invited people to share and mourn their loved ones out loud and to a willing audience.
I've learned what love from your community looks like. I like to talk about our tribe because I would not be standing. It takes a strong person to hold you up at your worst. To love you through the pain. It's all the tangible niceness of flowers, food and cards. Also, it looks like patience, prayer and sitting with your friend as she mourns. It's accepting and working with the new version of us. Our community comes up with such beautifully, creative ways to honor Pipes.
What for better or for worse really means. I thought I loved Beau before our daughter but the love that I feel after has no measure. To have someone who loves you through the worst possible tragedy, who still loves life and provides you a positive platform on which to rebuild is essential to my very existence.
I learned to let the little things go. Piper's death showed me big picture. So the fact that I'm running late, so-and-so did this and Beau said that isn't that big of a deal. This one I'm still working on. My former self was a bit crazy, type A, loony bird. Still is. The process of merging is still on going but it's given a new pause, reflect button. A bit more impulse control.
I have a whole new perspective at work. I work in a pediatric setting with all types of kids with exceptionalities that have always required patience. The patience I have been forced to afford myself has overflowed to a professional setting. I can now empathasize with concerned parents because I too am a mama bear.
I've learned how much my family loves me, how to find joy, to force joy, to choose happy, to choose life.
Rest easy Piper Kai, the best lesson of my life.