But I kept her email with the link in my inbox.
And tonight I decided to read the story. Sometimes it's nice to feel connected to someone with a similar story. I remember from talking with Beth that there were strange similarities... mostly that their little girl was named Abigail and they had an older son named Nathan.
I loved Abigail's story. I found comfort in feeling connected to another family that embraced their daughter with love and helped her to live the life she was given with as much comfort as possible.
Then I went over to the mom's Grief Journal. Just her description of the grief process rang true to my ears. Here are some of the things in the section on "The Path to Healing, A Journey Through Grief":
I found that keeping a grief journal - writing down my thoughts as they came to me and processing the events and emotions of my life - really helped me deal with my grief. In looking back at it, it really illustrates for me the strange nature of grief: that it is NOT a steady uphill climb but is more like a wild ride on a rollercoaster. The ups and downs are tiring to read about, and they were exhausting to experience.
All of these things helped me do my grief work. Many people say that time heals all wounds, but that's not true. It's what we do during that time that heals us. For sure, we can't shortcut the time, but time alone won't do it. We must work at our grief, thus the term grief work. What does that mean? It means feeling the emotions, the pain and sadness, and not denying the feelings. It is often easier to try to avoid the pain, but doing our grief work is what strengthens us to help us heal.
As I have recently received concerns about my grief process it was so nice to feel affirmed that I am normal. I have very important people in my life who support my process, and affirm that this is what the process looks like. It still feels like a weight is lifted to stumble upon this site.
I haven't read her individual postings in her grief journal. I'm sure I'll end up there a different day (right now I need to get myself into bed since I have a sick kiddo who will surely be waking me up a few times tonight).
One other excerpt from Mindy, the one that initially encouraged me to look past the birth story:
Shortly after losing Abigail, when I first wrote about the blessing God had given us through her, I never imagined the full extent of the blessing we would receive. Neither did I imagine the depths of pain and grief I would need to go through in order to receive that blessing.
I am now much deeper, much kinder, and even much more joyful than I was before having Abigail. And I am thankful to God for this experience and all it has taught me. But the road to where I am today was very long and very hard. After the initial shock and elation of meeting my daughter wore off, my real grief journey began.
I have described it best in The Journey, which compares grief to a long trek across a huge mountain range. My Grief Journal recounts what my life has been like since saying goodbye to Abigail: the many ups and downs I have experienced as my heart is slowly healing.
If you are here as a friend, your support during the "after" part of the journey will be the most important gift you can give.
And if you are just beginning this difficult journey yourself, I am here to tell you that there IS joy after grief.
More joy than you can imagine.
It's nice to be reminded that this is a journey, and there is hope at the end. And that life is filled with blessings, the ones I realize now and the ones I still get to learn about.