Letting go…again

There has been a lot of letting go in my life recently. Letting go of the way I think things should be. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of what I believe I want in place of what lies underneath.

I wanted more than one child. My daughter is the brightest light in my life and I am over the moon to be her mother. I just never thought of myself as the mother of one. When Ben died I told Steve I never wanted to get pregnant again. Then as the grief softened and the memories lost their edge, the word maybe began a slow creep into my reality. Maybe now that I’m off gluten…maybe now that my body is healing and I meditate daily…maybe this time everything would be fine.  And maybe it wouldn’t. Every month as I wait for my flow to begin, I flash back to being pregnant and the horror of it all. It seems selfish to risk my life when I have so much to live for. It is a shift in my story, in my thinking about myself, to come to terms with having an only child, particularly one who talks about being a sister almost daily.

Early on, the idea of adopting a baby was appealing.  Perhaps it might become so again, but if people think having a child is expensive, adopting one makes it even more so. Now that I am far enough away from the infant stage to feel a slight freedom, and to be getting a decent night’s sleep, I am not sure I need to go back. I am coming to a place of acceptance with all of this, though I haven’t arrived. My heart whispers that if we do want more children in our home, becoming foster parents might be the answer. Or it might not. I am letting go of knowing what it’s supposed to look like. There are moments of immense pain around these thoughts but more and more often, there are moments of grace.

As I look at the world around me – at families with two children, or four, or ten – I wonder at all of our journeys. There is no free ride for any of us. There is simply life. When I see a pregnant woman at the grocery store with three little ones already at her feet, or I watch someone carrying a newborn with a toddler in tow and jealousy begins to rear its head, I think of a story I once heard. I don’t remember the details but in it, everyone with a problem was invited to write it down and put it in a hat. Once all the problems had been discarded, people were to pick another from the hat, but no one wanted anyone else’s problems, they just didn’t want their own.

And so I remember when life feels hard and others’ look easy – I don’t want their problems. I wouldn’t trade my experience with Benjamin, the full scale healing that grief has brought, or the excitement of the path I am now walking. I wouldn’t give up the amazing people who have come into my life because he died and I chose to really live. The letting go is not always easy…and then sometimes it is.

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5 Responses to Letting go…again

  1. Roos says:

    You are indeed chosing to REALLY live! Your life, and no one elses.


  2. Christa says:

    This is lovely, Alana. So glad you are seeing the big, big picture, giving yourself a chance to really heal and see what might or might not come next.

    Just lovely…

  3. Stereo says:

    How encouraging and so very brave. If only we all could have an ounce of your vision and your perspective, Alana. I wish you all the very best in letting go and living your way 🙂

  4. Letting go is such an all-inclusive, overwhelming process, isn’t it? And honestly, when I’m letting go, I can’t tell where justification and rationalization stop and truly letting go begins. If there is such a line. There’s a weighing things out, a deciding, and ultimately the peace that comes with the release, with the shift in perspective, and that peace is so delicious, it’s worth all the wresting it took to attain. I don’t even know if that makes sense. I find that as I lean more and more into the feminine way of things, I seem to be making less and less sense and holding more and more polarities and certain uncertainties without effort. I love you, Sugar. I flat-out love you.

  5. Sarah says:

    Alana, I have been reading through your journey, and I am so grieved for your loss. This post about not knowing the journey that others are walking has touched something deep inside me.

    I have three children (2,4,6) and I love them desperately. But. That doesn’t make parenting any easier, does it? Last week I was at the grocery store with all three of them, having a crappy day, overwhelmed, and on the verge of sobbing in the cracker aisle. A woman stopped me to compliment me on my lovely girls, and to tell me how lucky I was. Yes, I know I am incredibly lucky, incredibly blessed, and I wouldn’t trade my daughters for anything – but at that moment all I could do was look at her, blink back my tears, paste on a smile and shakily say, “Thanks.”

    I met a mom at the park last week, and during casual conversation, we wound up talking homeschooling curriculum, cloth diapering, and her son who died hours after his birth, for no apparent reason. I realize now that I didn’t ask what his name is.

    A friend’s son has cystic fibrosis. Every time he gets sick, she is gripped by fear. All I can do is pray.

    Little hurts. Big hurts. Frustrations. Deep, tearing wounds. Indeed, we don’t know what is behind someone else’s smile, behind their public mask. Every guy we bump into casually on the street is a full and complete person, with a whole life story wrapped up in his flesh. It’s a powerful thought. I am mulling it over, trying to let it sink in. In the end, I hope that it will make me more compassionate to the persons I encounter.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You and your family are in my prayers.

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