This past week I’ve been spring cleaning.
Getting rid of ‘stuff,’ especially in Dempsey’s closet which is packed to the rafters with all sorts of things, baby blocks, stuffed animals and dress ups that’s she’s grown out of.
I always stumble upon some of Savannah’s toys…and they always pull at my heartstrings, thinking of her playing peacefully with them. Sometimes the memories hurt, and other times I smile…..
However, one of them reminded me of life, and turning points that can come in time as you travel down the long twisted path of grief.
I found her kaleidoscope. I remembered her holding it up to the light, twisting and turning the end of it…fascinated with the shapes and patterns that the glass fragments magically made.
It also reminded me of the journey of grief…how after the fragments of our lives have been shattered and our world becomes black, that over time, we start to evolve and change, and after a while, maybe a long while for some….our complex grief and hurt morphs into an appreciation of life’s gifts. For me, how lucky I was to have had my loved one’s in my life. That inside the heartache and turmoil lays beauty…if you look for it.
And for a long time after my loved ones died, my world became black.
There was no color.
I couldn’t sit alone with my thoughts, I needed constant distractions. I was afraid of my grief.....
The flashbacks were vivid and painful. However now, most days, I can let my mind wander back down memory lane.
I’ll always have my memories….but as days turn into months and years, new memories replace the difficult old ones, and one day you do have a turning point…like a kaleidoscope, your grief slowly transforms into an appreciation for what you do have.
This week, these are some moments that made me thankful...….
While cleaning out my kitchen cupboard, I found this treasure tucked away. Dempsey had decorated it when she was only five.
It took me back instantly, to when she was little, her shaky writing and the smiley sun made me smile.
I also revisited my guilt that I wasn’t as present for Dempsey as I should’ve been during those days, but it couldn’t be helped…some memories are hazy…a byproduct of grieving I think?
However, focusing on the here and now and building new memories help fan the embers of healing. Like last Thursday…we had Mum’s and Muffins at Dempsey’s school.
After a long line up with other mum’s, waiting patiently for a stale muffin, I got to sit with my baby on the grass, in a sunny serene spot at the school and share some time with her….precious time. She loved it!
And then of course there’s happy hour at our house! :)
Last Friday, one of our friends made the best margaritas I’ve ever indulged in…ensuring there were plenty of laughs around our back ‘T’….and a slightly fragmented head on Saturday! :)
On Monday, we purchased some Girl Scout Cookies from my gorgeous friend Sandra.
Every year the Girl Scouts bring out a ‘special edition cookie’ this year, to my delight, and Dempsey’s, are “Savannah Smiles” and they did just that for Dempsey and me….like a message imprinted on the box from Savannah, not to forget to smile!
I also appreciated that my lovely friend acknowledged how ‘special’ they are because of our Angel.
Dempsey has been playing around with my iPhone camera and took this photo of me.
I think some photos taken after loss are like a window to the soul....
My sister Tarnia used to say with a smile, “Photos don’t lie Diana!” (always when they captured a crappy image of me…I think because she was so photogenic! :))
And when I looked at this photo, I remembered her words.
I can see a difference in my eyes, how they’ve changed.
Sometimes I see my happy innocent sparkle from ‘before’ has altered, replaced with a vulnerability and sadness that others don’t see….but Dempsey has captured here.
However, it’s like a badge of honor I wear physically. One that show’s my soul’s ability to change and to have survived. But only I see it. And I’m ok with that now….
These days, I have color back in my life.
I’m mindful of the beauty all around me.....
And last night, with all that in mind, as I held Savannah’s kaleidoscope up to our kitchen light….slowly turning it, watching the pretty glass prisms take on different shapes, Dempsey appeared next to me.
“Mummy, if you shake it up, the pattern always changes. Did you know it’s never the same?”
And I had to smile at her words…a reminder to me to notice the many colors and transformations grief and life often bring.
That there are turning points, where the days become colorful again amongst the black and white…that challenges and grief evolve, like the complex patterns trapped inside Savannah’s toy, with twists and turns we are altered and transformed, now aware of the preciousness and beauty and fragility of life through our journey’s…just like the optical illusion a kaleidoscope creates......