Grief is a funny thing. Most of us are aware of the varying stages of grief. We know that there may be denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance, but they feel much different walking through them than I thought they would from watching others. I always viewed denial as a brief stage that was filled with questions like "is this really happening? How could this have happened?", and then moving on to another stage. Denial, for me, seems to come and go. There was the shock in the beginning (which to me was a separate stage in and of itself), but denial continues to plague me. It finds me in those moments when I see a video of her with so much life. It taps me on the shoulder as I look at a picture, just to tease me into believing for a brief second that maybe it's all just a dream. It haunts me as I dream about her, only to wake up and lose her all over again. It's ugly. It's merciless. It's everyday.
I know she's gone. To me denial has never been about believing she's still here. I understand this is our reality. Instead, denial wraps you in a memory, allows you to smile, and then fades away as you feel a jab in the gut like a dull knife. Yet, it keeps me wanting more.
Denial and I have a love-hate relationship. I want to embrace it, hold on to it and live within its walls everyday. I want to feel her near me and get lost in THAT reality. However, to embrace what can never be means letting go of what is, and I'm not willing to do that. I have a family. I have other children who mean more than this world to me. So, I have to be intentional about reaching beyond denial to acceptance. I feel this is the only way I can be everything I need to be for my family. They are grieving, too.
I also want to accomplish everything I can in an effort to make this world a better place, one little green heart at a time. I can't do that if I allow myself to be emotionally defeated at every turn. Don't get me wrong, it takes effort. I told you when I began this blog in October that I would be real, raw, and completely honest with you. So, here goes:
I have to make my feet hit the floor every morning. I have to make myself shower, dress and step out into the world. Everything within me wants to curl up in a ball and let the world spin away without me. But...I don't. Trust me, I have my moments of defeat. But, my love for that little girl that I will forever love and call mine drives me to accomplish greatness for her on a daily basis. We will make this world a better place because Ella was here, and THAT will be her legacy.
While I will continue to struggle with denial, I will also embrace our reality. I will choose joy, and when denial pays me an unexpected visit, I will smile and enjoy the moment of feeling her close. And when that moment ends and I have to let her go all over again, I will put my feet on the floor, I will step out into the world, and I will change it for the better!