Last night I soaked in the tub as I often do because my body is wracked in pain both emotionally and physically. I do believe our physical bodies hold our stress. I have what I call “pockets of pain” throughout my body that moves to different areas on different days. As I soaked I started to daydream. I looked over to the very spot where I found my daughter limp and greyish in colour and I thought, how can this be true? Did I really experience such trauma? You see after all this time, which in reality seems like yesterday, the brain still trys to protect the emotions by trying to mask the truth. It allows for brief moments of crying, screaming, intense pain to fill your soul. However it also does something to allow us to stand up in the morning, to make our children’s breakfast, to attend to activities. The brain does that! Its quite amazing when you think about that…to feel such intensity of sorrow, yet other times the loss does not feel real. It does not feel true that my daughter will never walk through that door one day and say “Hey Mama!” Logically, I know that will never happen but in my dreams I still see it happening.
In my daydreaming I went to a dangerously sad place for awhile, I totally immersed myself in that painful place that sits just under the surface. I start to recall all the conversations I had with Rehtaeh. All the wonderful things she said to me…”I cant wait until Temma and Teaghan come to me for advice. Do you think they will confide in me Mom?”or “When I have a baby, I hope she is just like Teaghan because Tea is so full of life.” None of that is going to happen now. I sit, soak and feel that in every ounce of my body. Wow, thats pain! Rehtaeh was going to have two children or so she imagined – one she said she would name Nevaeh which is Heaven spelled backwards. She wanted two dogs a Mastiff and a Chihuahua. She often said “I wonder who I will be,what I will do when I grow up” and I would say there are so so many options but I know you will excel at anything you take on. I told her she had everything going for her. She would roll her eyes and say “You have to say that, your my Mom.” The truth was she was so bright she didnt even try in school and I reminded her of that. Yes, she was beautiful on the outside but I emphasized that beauty comes from within. Now, even writing that I chuckle because I sound like my own mother.
She wanted to be a Marine Biologist to help wildlife or be an activist lawyer. I told her never limit yourself. Never stay in a box if you dont want to. Maybe you can do something for awhile then switch and try another profession. She would say “Yeah, I can do anything there are so many decisions” I knew 100% that she would contribute greatly to this world and she has. 🙁 This is her graduating year and I actually start imagining her excitement at the dress she would have picked out – always classy and stylish. I said to myself, why are you doing this, why are you going there? Why? because for the moment, soaking in the tub I needed to reminisce even if it meant intense pain.
I then started to think of my other girls who are just 4 (almost 5) and 10yrs and wonder about the affect of Rehtaeh’s loss on them. Are they adapting as they should? Are they drowning inside by my grief? Teaghan has so much insight that I want to write a children’s book just from her perspective. I try to walk the fine line of not forgetting Rehtaeh but not having everything be about Rehtaeh so that they know they matter too. Its a hard line to walk but I am aware of it everyday so its a start to a balanced life moving forward. I dont mention Teaghan and Temyson often in my blogs because I get tired of people saying how blessed I am to have my girls in my life. How I need to focus on them and make their life great – thats what Rehtaeh would want. Just because you have other children in your life it does not make it easier. Of course I am grateful for my girls and love them dearly but that does not lesson my pain. Its very hard to be there emotionally. I read a quote once that stated…line up your children and pick which one you can live without. See? how hurtful that is? It kind of sums up my feelings around having other children. I do understand people are just trying to say something helpful.
This photo is of Teaghan as we leave for a hike with the doggies.
I reviewed the day while soaking in the tub…the laughter of the girls, the bike ride, the playing with the dogs, bird watching from our window. Then I was drawn to a couple photos taken in the past few days that encourage my doubts about the impact of Rehtaeh’s death on them. In these photos I see confident, happy girls and remind myself that my girls are more aware of the sensivitity of other people’s feelings. They feel empathy and love for animals and people. I raised Rehtaeh the same way but because they lost someone so dear to them, because of others lack of caring, they are even more in tune to it. Some say we need to teach our kids to be more resilient, to toughen up to the harsh world around them. I always believed that a sense of empathy and a strong sense of self will take you much further.We need people to care more deeply because its through compassion -not lack of emotion that we will progress as a society.
This is Temyson in her Tae Kwon Do tournament this weekend. She won a Silver and a Gold Medal.