I was reminded the other day of one of my favorite quotes. It is actually the quote at the top of this blog...."Life is not about surviving the storm....it is about learning to dance in the rain." It is an anonymous quote that I read years ago. I have always liked it. It always made me think of strength in hard times. This quote took on a completely new meaning for me after my daughter's stillbirth.
I spent alot of time just getting by. In the first days, I thought I was doing really well if I got up and took a shower. I made myself do that. After the first 2 or 3 weeks, I made a deal with myself....
I decided that I could do anything for 15 minutes each day. My "anything", the thing I dreaded most was being "normal" for 15 minutes. That meant I would not be sad for 15 minutes. Not let my sadness bring me down for a whole 15 minutes. I could do it. Fifteen minutes and then, I could go back to being sad. As long as I knew I could go back to bed if I wanted or spend the afternoon crying if I wanted, I could handle the 15 minutes.
I know it may sound completely crazy, but it gave me something to focus on. A goal for the day. Sometimes, my fifteen minutes involved reading a fun magazine or a book that made me laugh. Sometimes it meant catching up on my favorite soap (which is Young and the Restless, BTW :) ) I watched the clock most of the time and when the time was up, I went back to being sad. I don't know if this makes sense, but I needed the time of being sad. I needed to feel what I was feeling. I needed to have that time with my baby, thinking of her and mourning her. There were days when I couldn't wait for the 15 minutes to be over, so I could get back to reality. I needed to stand in the storm, so to speak. To be knocked over by the hurricane force winds that kept pounding me. I was in survival mode and I needed to survive the storm that was my loss.
An interesting thing happened. I don't even know when it did, but it happened. It was so gradual that I never even noticed. I stopped watching the clock. I stopped counting the 15 minutes. I don't even know when I noticed that I had begun spending more time each day doing something happy. Of course, then I felt guilty that I had been happy. But I shouldn't have. I guess you can say that I was learning to dance again. I just didn't know it.
Even though the storm of that awful time had passed, nothing was the same. Nothing ever will be the same. So, I had find my way of being normal again. Many people call it the "new normal". I guess you can say it is like dancing in the rain.
I read something the other day that a friend posted on her facebook page. She was talking about rainbows and how you can't see a rainbow unless you have had the rain and the sun. I love what she wrote. It is so very true. My daughter has brought me so much sunshine. Her life and death have taught me so much about myself. If it weren't for her, I don't know that I would be the person I am. She shapes me everyday. She has taught me so much about dancing in the rain.
There comes a time in life, after something gut wrenching and horrible has happened, that you have to make some decisions. Are you going to sink in the horrible hole that is grief or are you going to swim in the vast ocean that is life? Are you going to let the storm knock you down or are you going to get out there and dance right in that rain?
I have chosen to dance and it is a wonderful dance filled with hope and laughter and gratitude, and yes, sadness. This dance is mine and my daughter's...it is what we are doing together.
I hope you learn to dance again, too, and that the dance is precious and sweet and honors your baby the way that you want it to.