I wanted to take a moment to update you all on what’s been going on in my life in the hopes that you all might understand or just to give a reason as to why I haven’t posted in a few months. Which I’d like to formally apologize for, to my boss Tracie, and to each and every one of you who take time out of your day to read the things that I write. It’s hard to explain just how much it means to me that you all support me and cheer me on as I go through this whirlwind of a life that I have been given a second chance to live.
This one is going to be a little difficult for me to write as it is very personal and very hard mentally and emotionally for me to understand even still.
I try to be as up front and honest as I can be with my readers because the last thing that I wanted was someone telling me that being an amputee was going to be easy and that all the feelings that I had and still have would go away quickly. I didn’t want people telling me I would learn to walk again so fast that it would be as if the trying times of being traumatized and tired of trying never even existed. And somehow I led myself to believe that because this awful thing happened to me, that nothing else awful would. I thought that I had “repented for my sins” or “karma” finally came around to me for all the things that I had done in my life that were not for the right reasons.
I guess I’ll start with when I was slapped in the face by the big picture of life and the world’s greatest heart break.
I say greatest very loosely. I don’t even mean ‘greatest’ but it’s the only synonym I could think of other than ‘biggest.’ I didn’t use it because it would have been silly to put big and biggest in one sentence; in one title. Kind of like Dumb and Dumber – it just doesn’t make sense. But, to be honest, not a lot has made sense to me lately anyway.
Strap on your trigger-warning pants because it’s about to get real. And by real I mean really real.
Maybe you’re like me and cope with your pain by using jokes and sarcasm, but we all know deep down inside – through the heaps of comedy, there is an ache that grows and grows until it finally peaks; nearly engulfing you completely before you finally let all of what you’ve been feeling out and into the open. I suppose it’s because it feels good to not pretend like it hasn’t been happening to you the whole time. Because it feels good to not pretendlike you haven’t been feeling it.
I’ve actually been going through quite a lot recently. If you couldn’t tell by the dark shadow of gloom that surrounds the top portion of this post.
The truth is, I lost someone. I lost someone so incredibly beautiful and amazing. Someone who made a profound impact on my life since the very day she was born. I’m not even sure how to really cope, even with clinging to the jokes and sarcasm, it still has yet to help with stopping me from crying in public, at night, in the shower, or during what “should” be happy times.
A part of me keeps wishing that this “social experiment” that I’ve led myself to believe is real, would stop already. It’s been long enough. Let’s just stop all of this nonsense and show her to me. Show the world that she’s still alive and with us.
And then it’s days like these I have to tell myself that this is real and it is incredibly hard to come to terms with.
My heart physically aches and my body physically aches every time that I think of her. Every single day she is on my mind and every single day this weight is in my heart – the type of weight that causes your chest to ache and your throat to sting.
Every moment of every memory with her is my most precious and prized possession. I feel I have to write them all down because what if I forget them? I never ever want to forget them.
I’ve come to the realization that no matter how hard you love someone, no matter how much they mean to you, they can be taken away in an instant. And then you’re left here, on this Earth, to feel this immeasurable pain, to breathe the air that they no longer do, and to ache forever.
It is so hard for me to come to terms with the fact that, for however long I have left here, I will never see her again.
I will never feel her hugs or kiss her cheek again.
Gracie – who, as a child, I had wished so badly would have been given to me as a sister. And she was, in a way, she was the very essence of a baby sister to me. She came into this world cross-eyed and beautiful, like she was almost too excited for what the world held for her, or better yet, what she had in store for the world.
It will be 10 months on Christmas of a graceless world now, for me – for my family. I saw a quote recently that really resonated with me, it was something that I could really relate to, it goes, “I felt like I had died too and they just forgot to bury me.”
I remember that after my mother had called me and informed me that Gracie and her friend had been hit by a drunk driver who had ran through a red light and that he had hit them on her side, that the doctor’s had said the chances of her surviving were slim – I remember that I stayed up all night praying silently and then loudly to God himself begging him that if he could let me live like he did, to let her live as well. I had prayed so much and had said it to myself over and over it became a chant-like mission that I soon fully believed she would recover. I couldn’t think of a life without her in it, it was just unfathomable to me. She was always supposed to stay in this world and to continue doing great things. She could have been anything she wanted to be because she was filled with the type of sheer kindness, love, and greatness that made anything possible.
Later in the night, I got the call that I had led myself to believe would never, ever come.
I remember the morning after quite vividly. I was woken by a just turned 2 year old, it hurt to open my eyes and it hurt to see her face. It hurt to hold her, and it hurt to make her breakfast, it hurt to go through the motions of my life. It hurt to feel every scene that I had stored away in my mind, every plan that I had made since the beginning of a time when I was little and unafraid of what the world had in store for me and for Gracie, just vanish. It was hard for me to go through the day-to-day tasks that I had found comfort in. My life was no longer comfortable or stable. It was broken, it still is broken.
When Gracie died, I felt the kind of pain I had never felt. It was a pain that surpassed anything I had ever went through. It is a pain that I still feel every day. Suddenly, me losing my legs was no longer the greatest heartbreak of my life. It seems even a little ridiculous that I could have ever believed that it would be the worst thing that happened to me, now, a life with out her feels much, much worse. I had never thought, that anything more awful than that would ever happen, but it ruthlessly and unforgettably did.
I had never wanted to be the Mom that my children saw crying, I wanted to be like mine. I hadn’t seen her cry but only a few times as a child, and I feel she cried in silence because she wanted us to look up to her as this strong and unfazed Mom.
But the day that Gracie died, I no longer felt strong and unfazed. And every day since, I have cried as if I have never cried before and I’m not so sure I care whether or not that’s in the middle of a busy grocery store or while I’m simply brushing my daughter Harper’s hair.
I spoke to my sister, Nicki, in the midst of a time I felt like opening up, and she mentioned a thing called survivor’s guilt, which sort of plays a part in having PTSD.
When I tell you I wasn’t a very good person and by no means someone anyone should have looked up to, it was Gracie that made me feel like I was worth more than I thought I was. She was my baby before I had a baby. In the same way my big sister calls me hers.
I can still feel Gracie and see her in the things that she loved and so, for now, if that is the only thing that I have to hold on to, I will hold on to that forever.
A few months after Gracie passed away, my fiancé and I bought a house. A beautiful house and even though my outward appearance had been happy (I perfected this technique long ago) what lies inside of me was shaking and with every beat of my heart I felt pain. I didn’t know if I could truly be happy, when Gracie would never be happy on Earth again. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be happy. Every thing that brought me joy also brought me immense sadness.
Slowly, I began building this new world with the greatest love of my life in this new home we share together with our little family.
I thought that I had never really had a “home” in my life or a place that at least felt like home. When I was a child we moved a fair amount of times and the only places that felt like home to me were my Mama’s arms, my grandparent’s house where I visited frequently, and my Nano and Gracie’s where I spent most of my summers and at least one weekend a month growing up.
But this was a new home, a Myah is a homeowner and is growing into an actual adult home. Suddenly, I was no longer a single mom of one living in a one bedroom apartment. I became a housewife, work from home, stay at home Mom of 3, I became a home owner who shopped for home owners insurance and fighting outrageous tax assessments. I was cleaning a 3,000+ square foot house every day and yet couldn’t seem to keep it cleaned. I was cooking without an oven (I still am, but thank you to my Mom for the toaster oven, it’s a life saver). All the hubbub of having a beautiful house began to feel more like a burden, and I feel like a failure nearly every day. Am I even meant to be what I am? Can I truly inspire others? I am no more special than the next person. So how can I do my job when I feel like I can’t even “do” my life correctly.
In September of this year, I started showing and feeling signs that I had felt once before. I took a test that revealed that I would be having a baby with the most amazing, handsome, and godly man that I have ever met. I was excited. I did all the things a newly pregnant woman would do and started planning from that moment. I planned out how I would tell him, and how I would tell our children, I planned where the baby would sleep and what doctor I would see (which proved to be harder than you’d think).
A few days after telling my fiancé of our sure-to-be perfect new family member, he could tell something else was upsetting me. I told him that I played around on one of those “when is my due date” websites and the baby was due on May 27th.
But that date is only 2 days after Gracie’s 21st birthday.
I remembered that Harper was born before her due date and I didn’t want the baby to have Gracie’s birthday.
That was her birthday. I wanted to celebrate her and only her on the day that at four years old, I gained my life long friend.
He tried to make me feel better with a bible verse or quote that read something like, “New life will come forth from death.” It was a kind gesture and I felt it in my heart that it might not be a perfect example. But what I took from it was that even God himself shows to us all as an example for our better understanding of what is to come for his followers.
Which led me to try and focus on and fill my mind with bible verses instead of the negative thoughts that clung to every part of my world. I came across another that helped me quite a lot.
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
The weeks go by with watching this child inside of me grow on the pregnancy app that I have and reading what new was happening week after week to Heath.
And then a day came when I felt something that didn’t feel right.
There was blood on my jeans, and through shaky hands I called my Mom and with each second that passed the truth of the matter sunk deeper and deeper. Soon I was driving to the nearest emergency room and waiting for an hour to be seen in my blood soaked pants when my Mom gets there and holds me while I cry into the same arms that I cry into every time that I was scared or sad as a child. She asks me if I have called Heath at work but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to tell him what I thought was going on. I did finally and quite reluctantly call him, pulling myself together long enough to get out that I was at the emergency room. He held my hand as we were told I was having a threatened miscarriage but that there was still a fetal heart beat.
I took it easy as they said, though it was really hard. It had taken me 4 years to learn how to use my hands and arms to do everything from lifting my wheelchair up and into and out of my car, pulling myself on to a bed that is too high, and carrying my 31 pound first born around. I hadn’t truly realized before that everything that my day to day consisted of – I had to use my arm strength to do.
I stopped and let people help me, even though I had spent so much time learning how to do it all myself. A part of me grew hopeful that I wouldn’t lose this baby, but the days go by and I am still bleeding. The only OB that will take me due to my Medicare insurance won’t see me until October 18th. Which is a few weeks away, even though I try relentlessly every single day for them to see me they decline each time.
When October 18th comes I feel positive, because I’ve been feeling better and the bleeding has just about stopped.
After over 4 hours of waiting and retesting they finally let us know that we had lost the baby. I remember it very clearly the doctor asking if we were trying to have this baby, I didn’t know why that mattered, but when she said, “some couples try and try to get pregnant and it’s better that you weren’t trying, it won’t be as hard for you.”
But it was hard, I cried for days after losing this magical, innocent little baby that I had wanted so badly. I still think of she/he everyday. I think of all the things I could have done to prevent what had happened and I am reminded every time someone that doesn’t know, asks me how my pregnancy is going.
This year has been the hardest that I’ve went through.
Every time that I would go to write my mind was clouded by my depression and the crushing sound of my own heart beating. It is literally my job to help people that struggle with limb loss and to help the families of those who struggle with limb loss (because they do struggle too) to know that they are not alone and to share my knowledge of what is to come and what they can do to make their lives a little brighter. Though, being through all of this I was struggling myself and I didn’t know how to portray myself as a person that could help others when I so desperately needed the help that I was meant to give.
Every day is a battle that I must ready myself for. I hope that you all will understand that I too go through things outside of this blog. I am thankful that I have this sanctuary, and will further more try to be the person I am meant to be, whatever that may be, through my writings and career.