Is Gratitude Possible after Child Loss?
Updated: Sep 7
Four years have come and gone since my daughter went to heaven. How the heck did that happen? Four years?
I've done lots of work on myself and my grief since my journey began on December 8, 2015. I have looked deep inside my soul. I have learned about the after life, I've worked on my ability to connect, and I have learned that love is always the answer.
Helping others is also a key component to my healing. Reaching out to other parents who have lost children might sound like the saddest and hardest thing to do, but it makes my heart feel full. It's like this is exactly what I am meant to do.
Helping co-facilitate a parent's grief group in the past few years has made me realize something. I am lucky.
I have met families who may have endured more than me. Can you compare child loss? It's all awful, no matter if you lose a child in utero or your child is 42 years of age.
I am lucky that I got to spend 17 and a half years watching Katie grow up, watching her become a beautiful, caring young woman. We were blessed with seventeen and a half healthy years in which we got to make memories of laughing and loving and traveling.
Not everyone gets that much time. I have met moms that had to say goodbye to little ones who never took a single breath. I have met moms that only got two years with their little one knowing their time was limited. Some of these families had to spend the majority of their child's life in the hospital and mom had to learn how to suction their child's tracheostomy and how to respond when their child stopped breathing.
Katie grew up in a comfortable home that allowed her to pursue her dreams. She danced competitively for years, we took yearly vacations, and she knew that her post-secondary education would be paid for allowing her to pursue the career of her choice. There was nothing that limited Katie.
I feel lucky that I got to be Katie's mom and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't trade my time with her or be anyone else's mom just to have more time. My life was better having Katie in it.
My girl taught me so much in her life and in her death. She has taught me that love is always the answer. She taught me that each moment in life should be treasured, because you don't know when it will be your last. She taught me that life is a learning process, as is grief. When your heart is open, you will see things so much differently.
I know that I will see Katie again and that she will guide me through my life until that day comes. Katie accomplished what she came here to do and my learning still continues. Perhaps my remaining time is to be spent helping families adjust to their loss or maybe it is to educate our society on how to help bereaved families.
Being grateful for my time with Katie has helped me put things in perspective.
Oddly enough, I am finishing this blog on Katie's angel anniversary. This morning I did something that made me realize that maybe I am healing, even though it doesn't necessarily feel that way some days.
I have always felt the need to say thank you to the first responders and crews that were on scene at Katie's accident on Dec 8, 2015. While there was nothing anyone could do, I believe everyone on duty that night responded to the scene. The images captured by the media shows many, many more EMTs, police, and fire personnel than was required. The concern in their faces can be read even from a great distance. I cannot imagine the heaviness that these men and women hold in their hearts after responding to a car accident like this. They have to go home to their own families and sleep with horrific images in their heads.
Today, on Katie's fourth angel anniversary, I contacted Regina Police Services and asked if it was possible to speak to the crews that responded to my daughter's accident so that I could say a heartfelt thanks and let them know how grateful I am for the work they do.
Nothing will bring my daughter back. Ever. And I believe these men and women would have done everything in their power, as I would have, to save my daughter.
With gratitude to each and every one of you.