I tend to watch my thought patterns and how I tend to think on a daily basis. Maybe it’s the Psychology background but human behaviour interests me so I like to explore those feelings/thoughts. Most days I feel sad but I understand that sadness is something that is necessary at this time. However, I also joke around at times now and find humour in things…that’s progress. Its important to know that every day is not necessarily a happy day so why do so many pretend to be happy when they are not?Society teaches us that to be successful we must be happy. We must be productive by achieving and accumulating. I look at my loss and see how much positive has happened in the lives of many at the expense of my daughter’s life and I feel blessed. In all this sadness there are blessings and its important to know that life is a series of emotional events – ups and downs and everything in between. Embracing the pain as well as the pleasure may be a good starting point to balancing life. As I watch my thought patterns throughout the day and the dialogue that is always running in the background I try my very best to not go into any type of negative thinking and to balance my negative thoughts with what is going right in my life. Even if it’s the smallest event, it matters in the darkest of moments. The sadness is there and perhaps that is exactly what is supposed to be for now so I’m trying to embrace it. I have noticed what strikes me as the “hard to breath moments” are the memories and thoughts of what “should have been” “that may have been” and “that will never be”.
What hurts the most is that Rehtaeh does not get to live her life. Her life was so short and there was so much pain in the 17months leading up to her death. Little snippets of her words haunt me. Her excitement of all the things she wanted to see and try. She once said there is so much in life I want to do that I have to sit down and calm myself down because its so overwhelming and exciting.
I used to smile about her enthusiasm to experience life. I told her she should travel and see as much as she could before having children or settling down. She laughed and said she plans to see everything she could. The year before she was raped she said I love my “ColeTown” I love how everywhere I go I know someone because it makes me feel safe and that I belong here. Then after the rape she could not go outside her home for fear of shame. It’s the little conversations… “I cant wait to be that big sister my little sisters to come to for advice, do you think they will come to me with their problems Mom?” The “do you want to be a Grandma?” Me: “not for a very long time Rae” and we would laugh.
The times I jump in my van and look to the empty passenger seat where so many of our deepest conversations took place and I stare at that seat so hard sometimes envisioning her there and wishing her back. In the months before her death I also hear her words… “ Im a burden to everyone now” “When Im gone life will be better for everyone.”
So when my Doctor asks “what is it that is still really bad for you Leah? Well, I usually just sum it up with “I really miss her”. I believed when I had a child, my first child – Rehtaeh, that finally I found someone that I will love unconditionally and it felt like the safest place in the world. My heart opened fully for the first time and I fell “head over heals” in love like a teenagers first crush. However, as time goes on and our children grow the truth is the relationships with parent/ child emotionally test every part of us. Parts of us that we didn’t even know existed both good and bad. We clearly see what we value, what we reject in our teaching of life’s lessons to our children. We find new ways to negotiate love and acceptance and its hard work.
I never contemplated that my child would die so young. Life does not prepare for that. So yes it’s the missing her but if I watch my thought process it keeps coming back to all the experiences of life that will never be that hurts the most. Missing her will remain but the memories of what could have been are something I am still processing.