My Life Ended. My Life Began.
I Still Experience Joy
My life ended twenty-nine years ago today. My life began twenty-nine years ago today. November 2, 1986, at 1:47 p.m., my dear child Alexa was seven and a half years old when she took her final breath on this earth. With that breath, I took my final breath as a mother whose children all were alive. With that breath, I began a different life as a parent who suffered the worst loss conceivable.
It did not occur to me then that this loss would give me hands to hold other hands in the face of their own losses. It did not occur to me then that my tears would combine with the tears of others and help catch them when they fell. It did not occur to me that this profound grief that opened my heart would help me hold the hearts of others when they, too, experience grief and loss. It did not occur to me that I would love more, not less. It did not occur to me that this loss would go beyond absence and loss to create connection and caring.
With every word I write and every word I speak to those who grieve, I remember Alexa and I honor her. Her life, short as it was, brought me love and allowed me to give love I never dreamed of. For that, I am beyond grateful. I continue to be blessed by her love and because she opened my heart and helped me heal the broken hearts of others.
November 2, 1986, is many years gone today, November 2, 2015. I didn’t ever think of or begin to imagine myself having a life much beyond those early days of pain. But in spite of this never-healing hole in my heart, I have managed to carry on—to do more than carry on—to have much richness and fullness and love in my life. And joy—joy, too.