Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Acknowledging Loss and Learning to live!

Saturday night we went to a friends birthday party.  We stumbled through the front door loaded up with drinks and Dempsey's things like we had just left 'Toys R Us'......upon arriving I was introduced to an attractive lady with a warm welcoming smile, who shook my hand, introducing herself, her husband and  her gorgeous teenage daughter, who had dimples like Dempsey. 

A little while later, a friend took me aside and whispered that the lady I had just met belonged to the same club as me......no, not 'Brownies' or the local 'Mom's Group'.......a club no-one ever wants to be part of.  Like me, she had lost one of her daughters.

I looked at her trying to see if there was any indication of her grief...no, there were no visible scars, no big red sign hanging around her neck that screamed "My daughter died and I miss her", she seemed happy, laughing and chatting away like any other party goer.  I wondered how she was coping and wondered if I should approach her and tell her I was sorry for her loss, and that she wasn't alone....that my daughter had died too.  I decided it was the right thing to do, and that if it was me I'd want someone to do the same......to acknowledge my loss!

So I did, and we sat amongst the noise and shared our struggles about life NOW, she, with tears in her eyes, making me aware her grief is still raw and fresh....we talked about how sad it is that we don't get to say our daughters name as much anymore and how somedays you feel like shouting to the world how hard it is.  However, we also laughed and talked about clothes and kids and wine and normal things that women talk about at a party. 

When your grief is fresh, social situations can make you feel vulnerable..."What if someone asks if Dempsey is my only child?"  or like the many times before, if confronted by my story, people clam up, not knowing how to respond.  Before the death of my family members, I would've been one of those people too....but now I know its best to acknowledge the persons loss and show some compassion, even if its just a " I can't imagine how hard it must be." 

As I hugged this new friend and thanked her for sharing her story, I looked around the room, no-one else had any idea about our 'new' identities, how loss changes you forever, but also, how you can learn to laugh again and enjoy yourself despite losing a loved one.  You don't want to be known as a victim but as a survivor.....and she, like me is a survivor.

Meeting her reinforced to me again, that the human spirit is an amazing thing.  We both share something extroadinary in common, however, despite our losses, we can still put on a pretty dress, smile, and be like any other person in the room.  You do learn to hide under a mask of make-up and CAN, again, enjoy every challenge and expereince life continues to throw at you.....even if it is too many red wines, on a Saturday night, with a group of loving friends, simply enjoying life....sometimes thats the best medicine of all!

I hope this post can bring you some comfort and know that you will, and can, have sunshine again in your blue cup. :) x

Dempsey and me, Saturday before the party :)


  1. Another lovely post. It sounds like you had a great bonding experience with this woman and that it probably gave you another great opportunity to remember Savannah and talk about what a wonderful child she was. Hugs!

  2. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Missy...it helps inspire me to keep writing! And thank you too for mentioning our Angel Savannah....I know that you truly 'get it' Missy.

    I'll look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Wishing you lots of sunshine...thanks again
    Diana x

  3. Diana,
    I haven't been brave enough to "visit" your blog since the Sunday two weeks ago. You are such an amazing writer. I can't put into words how touching your words are to me. You have found so many amazing ways to honor and remember Savannah and all your loved ones who are no longer on earth.

    I have been wanting to tell you that it was no accident that our paths crossed. We had many obsticles and scheduling issues and my husband even took a day off work (this is a rarity) to attend the B-day party. It was not looking like we were going to be able to attend, but now that I look back, I realize that there was a "pull" to be in attendance. I am SO GLAD we were there and that we were able to meet your family. I truly hope we will be able to make plans to spend time together again.

    The Saturday before Mother's Day, I was doing pretty well. I was trying to stay busy and although I felt that little niggling of the knowledge of what was to come, I was try to brace myself and pep talk myself into getting through my first Mother's Day without Taylor. I failed miserably and it has taken me 5 or 6 days to "recover". I made an effort to go to church, but I arrived a few moments late and when I walked in and realized that the men were serving lunch to the women and I could hear their cheerful chatting, I just couldn't bare to go inside. I almost fell to pieces before I could get out to my car. I had a meeting after our normal church schedule, so I sat in the car trying to re-compose myself for the next 50 minutes before I went in to attend the meeting. Which thankfully was brief and I don't remember much of. Then I tried to sleep the rest of the day away.

    It is so exhausting to wear that "mask" everyday. I want to be happy, and mostly I am, but yeah, that sad, ugly scar is always there and I try to cover it up but by mid-day, I am just wiped out. Thank goodness I have my other daughter to mother, or I would likely stay in bed alot more.

    Thank you for your encouraging writings. I will be "checking in" more often for you to help me fill MY blue cup with sunshine and I hope that I in turn will be able to do the same for you when I am feeling strong and you are having a bluer than usual day.

    I hope we can stay in touch. I have thought of you every day and of your lovely family on earth and in Heaven. And, I imagine, knowing what an angel on earth Taylor was and knowing what I have learned about Savannah, the two of them will meet (or have already and they are the ones that made sure we met) in Heaven. xoxox


  4. Dear Crystal,
    Wow, thank you so much for your beautiful, beautiful words...they mean so much to me. I too have thought of your family everyday since I met you at the party. I also thought of you off and on in the days leading up to mother's day...wondering how your first mother's day without Taylor would be. I'm glad you survived it the best way you could.

    I know when Savannah was dying I slept away alot of days....I think you need to do whatever you need to do sometimes. And I think you are so brave to face all those happy people on mother's day...you will have inspired so many other people without even knowing it with your courage, as you did me that Saturday night.

    I am amazed that I almost didn't meet you and I agree with you that fate meant for our lives to cross. Meeting you with your lovely huge smile and warm ways that night also gave me alot of strength, knowing I'm not the only one who wears a "mask" and reaffirming again that grief can't take away your spirit in time.

    I know we'll see each other again, and smile and maybe cry as I have done today reading your heartfelt message above.

    I will continue to think of your family with a smile and will look forward to a hug next time I see you.

    I hope my blog can help you as your comments have helped me today!
    lots of love Crystal
    Dee x