My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

DABDA

9 Comments


October 1, 2014

Dear Readers,

Today’s Writing 101 assignment is to write about finding something.

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Denial.  Anger.  Bereavement.  Depression.  Acceptance.  These are all stages of grief.  For the first 26 years after the loss of my daughter, I experienced a constant barrage of emotions, along with four out of the five stages of grief.  Never, not once, in 26 years, did I ever come close to acceptance.  Today, however, I am happy to report that I have found it.

Jessica passed away on June 26, 1987.  She was not quite three years old and I was not quite 23 years old.  The havoc this event wreaked in my life is immeasurable.  Denial, anger, bargaining, and depression have been the ebb and flow of my life, to some degree or another, for the past 25 years.  Every event, every undertaking, every celebration in my life was filtered through my daughter’s passing.  So much so, that I experienced nothing in my life in its pure form.  It was as though I had an asterisk next to my name in the book of life.  “* Mother of 5”, “* College Graduate”, “* English Teacher”.  The asterisk at the bottom of the page always indicated the same caveat, “* Daughter passed away June 26, 1987”

In recent years, maybe the past 7 or so, I stopped looking for acceptance and resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to find the ever elusive, acceptance.  I pared my grieving down to only one month a year, June.  This is not something I did consciously.  However, my other four children were relieved when I began to cut back on my fits of sobbing.  It’s not that they begrudged me my grief, they were just frustrated at not being able to help me.

Twenty-six years of therapy, two mental breakdowns,one halfhearted suicide attempt and I still had not found that damned acceptance stage!  Until recently.

Like any good epiphany, my epiphany came out of nowhere.  It happened just a few months back.  I realized how very self-centered and narcissistic I had been regarding Jessica’s passing.  Several years ago, I found the strength to accept that Jessica’s death was not my fault.  However, I could not accept the fact that Jessica’s death had nothing to do with me.  Let me just say that one more time, “Jessica’s death had nothing to do with me.”

I have spent the better part of my life feeling sorry for myself.  Well,not exactly, it was an extremely painful experience.  However, my grieving had taken the focus off of Jessica years ago.  Now, it was all about me and how my daughter’s death had really screwed with my head.  Things were about to change.

Last year, through a series of unexpected events, I was flying home to Arizona from the Middle East.  The date was June 26, 2013, and it was the 26th anniversary of Jessica’s death.  It had always been sacrosanct for me to do nothing but grieve on June 26th.  Yet, I had scheduled a 30 hour, two stop flight home.  What was I thinking?  I wasn’t, and that turned out to be the best thing for me.

I was 30 minutes or so from my final landing when I said to myself, “Well, this has sure been an uneventful June 26.”  And just like that, it dawned on me that I had finally found what I had been looking for all these years, acceptance.

Peace, ~v.

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9 thoughts on “DABDA

  1. I’m so glad to hear that you absent mindedly just got on with the day, without realising it’s significance. That is your life carrying on as it will x

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  2. This is so heart wrenching and beautiful. I am so sorry to hear about your little girl’s death. That certainly would have done the same to me. Someday, I will write about my nervous breakdown and why. I don’t have the courage you do. This was so beautiful, extremely sad, touching, and comforting at the end. You are such a wonderul and beautiful person. God Bless You Victoria

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    • Thank for your kind words. I am grateful that it only took 26 years for me to get where I am today. I was looking at it taking much longer. I am young enough to start living my life, and that is what I intend to do.
      As far as writing about yourself, I pray that you will do what is best for you. I am glad that you are healing and I wish you continued success. My continued love and peace, ~victoria

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  3. Oh darling, thankyou for sharing with us. What a profound experience that must have been. Your honesty and writing are breathtaking. xxx

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  4. This was quite touching and so honest. Your honesty indicates to me you level of peace and acceptance of such a terrible and tragic event. That revelation that your grief became more about self-pity and less about your daughter is huge. We can easily get trapped in self-pity and it only goes one way – down. Thanks for sharing this!

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    • Thank you for the eye-opening comment. I never realized that my grief had become self-pity, but you are right. Often over the past 26 years, I have made mention that I was most certainly NOT feeling sorry for myself…I was. But I figured if I said it enough times, it would be true.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It is most graciously accepted.

      ~victoria

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