Honouring Emotions

Acceptance of our emotions is so essential on our journey of grief and journey of life. The truth is I wake up 95% of the time feeling extremely sad. The pain and reality that my child no longer resides on this earthly plane hits me pretty hard most mornings.  This is my truth! I can choose to push that feeling away go deeper in the sadness, be agitated with myself for feeling so damn sad or I can choose to honour that feeling of sadness. I choose to honour that feeling – give myself love and room to feel it. I am completely okay with feeling sad when I wake up now.  I dont stay there all day but I feel it!

In the first couple years after Rehtaeh’s death I had such awful vivid dreams that she never really died and it was all a big mistake. Often in the dream Rehtaeh returned saying she didnt really die and the media blew it out of proportion or she had to go away for awhile to create distance from the events leading up to her death. Sometimes, the dreams took me to some prett dark places – showing me Rehtaeh living in addiction far away. Me in the dream trying to find her and bring her home. But in all of these dreams she was very much alive. Then I would wake with a moment of complete relief that it was all a very bad dream. Then the next moment arrived – My child is REALLY gone. My heart was torn apart over and over again with these heart searing pains when I wokd suddenly in the middle of the night. I hated sleep!

To the contrast of these dreams when Rehtaeh was just a little girl and I a first time Mom I had dreams that she went missing out of our home in the middle of the night. I would wake and run in to her room to check on her. I was met with huge sense of relief when I saw her all curled up sleeping peacefully with her teddies and blankets. I would take a moment to watch the rise and fall of her belly feeling blessed to have her in my life and relief that she was safe. The irony and sad twist to the contrast of these dreams still haunt me almost five years later. Yet, I still feel so very blessed.

I somehow manage to share my child with the world and being able to do so has given me tremendous strength, love and courage. I am blessed to help others along the way navigate their pain and loss. I get to share who my girl was before any of this trauma happened to her to thousands of people. I was given a voice to speak of sexualized violence, cyber abuse and mental health in platforms across Canada.

Yes, I wake very sad. How else would I wake? However, I spend so much time in gratitude. I connect to my emotions instead of hiding from them. I have learned to love myself in ways I never knew were possible.

Rehtaeh changed my life in profound ways the day she was born. Rehtaeh changed my life in profound ways the day she left this earthly plane but she is still with me with every beat of my heart.

Love never Dies!! #LoveYourselfFiercely

4 thoughts on “Honouring Emotions

  1. Wow..This touches my ❤
    Your a strong woman,and have wonderful stories,that have helped so many others.Rehtaeh is a Beautiful soul.God bless you all Leah🌹

  2. My daughter is a few years older than yours but had a lot of demons and needed help thru the NS health system. We spent a lot of time together in Four South and other treatment centres. Fortunately there was no Facebook at the time she was going thru her teen rebellions. She has a career job now but still struggles with being bipolar and once asked if I’d mind if she committed suicide. I’ve looked at Rehtaeh’s photos dozens of times on your website. My favourite is one on a beach where she is walking away, exploring life like a 10-year-old, feeling safe and happy with her family together on vacation. My daughter is the only one my ex-wife and I had. She’s the best thing I’ve ever done in this world. I don’t have an easy time saying stuff like this but my heart goes out to you.

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