"Grief Is Love With Nowhere To Go"
This is my story of tragedy and beauty, a story of life and death, and a story of mourning and dancing. Not too long ago, I spent 5 months in the hospital with my best friend, and my brother. I witnessed the person I loved more than myself suffer beyond what anyone should endure. The memories still unexpectedly visit me like a nasty hurricane threatening to take me down. After 5 months of suffering, Colton passed away while I lay in the hospital bed alongside his body as close as I could manage.
The next year would be a time of screaming at God and doubting everything I knew to be true. I would almost lose my marriage, my faith, and all the beauty ahead of me in this life.
That next year was a time of mourning. I knew I had two choices; I could run from grief and like a criminal, it would eventually sneak up on me and beat me to the ground. Or I could begin the long frightening journey of walking toward the grief with my knees shaking and head high. I was not sure if grief was stronger than me, but I did know if I beat it before it beat me, I would be free to live the life my brother wanted for me.
I started by walking a long trail by my house every day, and I got a puppy. I walked everyday whether it was snowing or sunny. Just like grief, the weather was unpredictable but just like Hope, my puppy was always wagging her tail a few steps ahead of me. My job was to be consistent and honest. I would be faithful to walk, and willing to express the storm within me. Some days this meant talking out loud to my brother, other days it meant moving my body in the silence of the forest because words could not suffice. During this time of mourning there were only three invited ... Myself, God, and Colton.
Even though Grief is a crippling and lonely journey; alone is the only way one is allowed within the gates to face the beast.
Almost a year later, I stood at the top of the hill where I journeyed everyday and began to talk to Colton when I heard a stern, “enough is enough.” These words quieted my heart and I knew I had to keep listening. I wondered if this moment may be the beginning of the end of this grief journey. I wondered if I had finally worn down the beast.
“You have a full and wonderful life ahead of you with so much to accomplish. It’s time to move on Stina,” Colton whispered softly through the Alder trees.
In my heart I could see a careful and loving smile stretch across my brother’s face as he ended by saying, “You will see me when you are done with this life but please go live yours.”
I had an overwhelming sense that Colton was ready to move on too. It was time to allow us both be free and trust that it was not the end but merely a pause until we meet again. I did not know it but I desperately needed his permission to say goodbye.
I needed my brother’s blessing to live my life even though he could not longer live his.
The same month that I finally let go of Colton with my white knuckled grip…the loss of Colton was unexpectedly redeemed.
That same month, I conceived my first child.
As I sit here and write, this baby is dancing and kicking, reassuring me every day that there is new life growing within me. We spent almost four years praying for a child, gone to multiple doctor appointments, and I finally accepted that I would never be a mom. The news that I would be a mother filled my heart with a joy that was unexplainable. I was given a new life after losing my brother to death. The words my brother spoke to me on the day that marked the beginning of the end are now taking physical form right before my eyes. As this belly grows, the joy within my heart explodes and overflows into my marriage, my faith, and the beautiful future I have.
This new growing life healed the pain of loss, and renewed my faith that God is good. This new baby boy whom we will name Colton has turned my mourning into dancing.