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Peace in the Pain

July 25, 2018 by Victoria Strong

She glowed with love. And love radiated through her in a way that often felt tangible, like I could take a piece and pass it around for others to hold in their hands. And so many did - they held her love and, like us, were transformed by it. I think I will always marvel that somehow a child that was seemingly so broken managed to teach and heal so many.

In the early morning hours, as the mourning dove called outside her window, as her daddy stroked her hair and kissed her forehead, as I sang “This Little Light of Mine” in her ear and my tears fell on her round cheek, Gwendolyn died. I think of this scene with peace. We birthed her into this world and out of it. Together, the three of us. And I know that is a gift.

After all the what if’s and playing out scenarios in my head over and over again for years, after all the near-death episodes, I feel grateful that we got this sense of peace in the pain. We weren’t in public. It wasn’t entirely sudden. We didn’t have a traumatic incident or chaos. We weren’t pushed to the side as dozens worked on her. We were all together. We were at home. We got to hold our child as she took her last breath.

I’m not sure I would feel any differently now had it occurred in another way. And I know many brave parents who have had to endure the above and are still standing and finding beauty in life. But what I do know is I feel gratitude.

Gwendolyn’s life taught me to be grateful. To look for the slivers of hope. When everything is crumbling you hold on to any morsel you can. And, even when the worst comes to fruition, there can be gifts within.

Even in her death, she glowed and gave us that last bit of her light to carry as we grieve. I will miss my child, my precious magical child, for the rest of my life. And I will also be so very grateful to have known her, to have called her mine, to have watched her bright light glow and touch so many. I will always feel lucky to carry a love that grand.

"The heart of grief, its most difficult challenge, is not "letting go" of those who have died but instead making the transition from loving in presence to loving in separation." -- Thomas Attig  

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