13 13

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This post might be long so bear with me or keep swiping down. Your choice.

I hope you have never been at your rock bottom or if you have been, I hope you came up to the light again as we, who have been there, know how dark that rock bottom is. For me that rock bottom was the summer of 2016, rapidly approaching one year anniversary of Bianka’s death. I mean I kept my self so busy after her death creating art projects crafted with my bare hands out of the chicken wire in her honor, running marathon in her honor, starting a brain tumor research fund and raising money in her honor, finishing her room makeover in her honor, returning to work only month after her death, raising awareness about childhood cancer and keeping up her Facebook page, knowing well enough that I could not keep up at that pace, filling up my minutes and seconds with things to do so I would have no time to think, no time to feel the pain, even though pain found its way to me.

That year I coughed for four months straight, until I finally went to my Chinese doctor who told me that in Chinese medicine, grief is held in the lungs, gave me some Chinese herbs and dried up my mucus until I stopped coughing enabling me to successfully finish my marathon in April of 2016, starting my slow but sure decline into depression or post traumatic stress or what ever you want to call it, culminating into uncontrollable outbursts of anger in public that summer and making me consider the medication, just to take the edge off.

I did not want the medication. I really did not. But my doctor who I trust completely was strongly suggesting it and I would have taken them if something did not happen that saved me. Here is how the story begins:

That summer, my dear Kalie Bella, who was four at the time started praying every night for a baby brother, which made me start thinking about having another child- yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, endlessly. I could not have made up my mind to save my life. The agony, the fear, the hope, the joy of a new baby…Klaudio is not a chatty type so I was left on my own to look at all angles and discuss in my head with myself what I wanted, what would be the right thing to do and I decided to ask Bianka to give me a sign. I prayed every night for three months until one day…

Kalie and I were at our chiropractor’s office on September 12th, 2016 when we met a couple with a daughter Kalie’s age who started playing together in the lobby. They asked for my number to do some play dates, but what intrigued me was that mom was pregnant so I asked her when she was due. She said: today, and we talked about where she would have the baby, I wished her good luck and went home thinking nothing of it.  When I checked my phone at home the picture of Bianka and me from 2013 showed up in front of her text (see below)! I remembered that day so clearly- I took Bianka for an ice cream on a special date while Kalie was home with Klaudio and I asked this random lady who was there to take a picture of us as I left my phone at home.

So I texted her that photo and explained that we lost Bianka to cancer.  Well, her daughter was born the very next day, on September 13th, at 13:13 (military time), and that is exactly the same date when Bianka and I met with her, September 13th, 2013. I started bawling when I realized that the dates were the same because I felt like Bianka answered my prayers and communicated with me. I know this might sound crazy, but what are the odds I would meet the same woman with Bianka on September 13th, 2013 and that her daughter would be born on September 13th, 2016 at 13:13 almost to an hour exactly three years later? Since I am very into numbers and believe in signs like this I just knew that meeting her exactly three years before was my sign that I would have three children like I always instinctively felt I would.

What is strange is that the story of numbers continues. When we met in 2013, it was Friday the 13th, her little girl turned 13 months on Friday the 13th and will turn 3 in 2019 on Friday the 13th. Luka will turn 13 months 3 days after September 13th this year…

My husband does not understand my strange obsession with these numbers and occurrences and thinks it is really weird that I find these numbers and dates so significant as they relate to complete strangers who are not our friends, but what he does not realize is that this event saved me, it truly was my turning point from the depths of my despair making me decide to go for another child who not only brought so much joy and healing to our little family but made me believe that somehow, somewhere Bianka can hear me and send me signs, be it in the form of people and dates or numbers, I do not care, but it made me hold onto something, a hope, a light, a possibility of another dimension, or something else even crazier. Would that be so hard to support? I do not think so. But we are all different. We all work on different brain wave lengths and perceive reality subjectively.

I am proud to say that I will always celebrate Friday the 13th and September the 13th and all the 13 13s I can get and you bet I have number 13 framed in my dining room where I can see it every day when I am eating my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Would love to hear your numbers story if you have any like this because, yes, I am obsessed.

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StoryCorps

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Everyone has a story. And every face carries that story the best one can. I could never hide my story very well and my face would always show it, wearing my heart on my sleeve like they say, I am pretty much an open book, these days more than ever. And it is not something I think it is good or bad, it is just who I am, and now it is even more important part of who I am and who I will always be. You see being vulnerable is a skill that you can take a course on and read books about or being coached on by some self proclaimed expert or enlightened guru, but in its core it is simply not being scared to show your true emotions to others and say how you really feel. I had naturally never had problems doing that, not sure if it is the culture I grew up in or the family I grew up in or just my personality but with me, what you see is what you get, which brings me to these pictures taken after our StoryCorps conversations.

I wanted to document Bianka’s story and have it be not just a cathartic and intimate conversation for Klaudio and me but also a record for Kalie (and now Luka) to listen, learn, and see what their parents went through and to show them that sharing raw emotions and being vulnerable is not just OK, but really healthy. It is all we can do now; share Bianka’s story and our experience of living with grief in hope our girls will grow up to learn the same and be better for it.  (If you would like to listen to two of our stories that were aired in 2015 and 2016  you can hear them here: 2015, 2016).

Our story gets harder right about now. Each year, late spring to mid summer is the hardest time for our little family since 2015 and it always will be as in May we found out that Bianka’s tumor has returned, in June she was on hospice, and in July she died. Bam bam bam. Just like that. And even if I do not think about it, my body knows that this is the time of the beginning of the end of Bianka’s life and the cough starts and the tears flow and the heart aches just a little bit more, like that is even possible.

And if you look at our faces from each year you will see how we aged through this process of fight and optimism (2015 before May), loss and despair (May 2015-September 2016), struggle and survival (October 2016- August 2017) and joy and new beginnings (September 2017-March 2018). Time is an interesting thing. I know it is made up thing but sometimes it feels like these years flew by me and I cannot still really believe that I lived through them, and survived, and then sometimes it feels like these years are the only years I can remember from my whole life, just long dreadful years where I am living without my child and the thought of reminding myself that I have to go on living like that for the rest of my life won’t leave me alone.

But then I learn that a couple in my church lost a 8 month old baby girl last Wednesday. They put her down for a nap and she never woke up. I cannot stop thinking about them as I lost a child and currently have a 8 month old baby girl. And CANNOT even go there.

Unfortunately it can always be worse so count your blessings and try being vulnerable next time you want to put your face on.

The Dinner Table

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I do not know where to even start about the significance of the dinner table for me. I guess it started in the childhood of course where my family always ate meals together no matter the mood and now that food is my livelihood, the simple act of sitting together at the end of the day, no matter how high the ups or how low the downs, is what remains a constant, a table that always waits for us and brings us together, like a glue that glues our broken hearts and family together.

It is not always pretty or joyful, but we have few rules that bring even the hardest days and sharpest moods to its softer edge.

I will not go through them all but the first and the most important rule is that we go around and say three things we are grateful for that day. You can skip, but only once, and no one can leave the table until everyone went. I do not know when I started this, but I know it was when Bianka was little. There were only a handful of times since then where I was not in a good place and could not go and where I have broken a rule and skipped for the day.

Bianka’s grateful thanks always included loving everyone and if you knew Bianka, you knew that she always had hugs, kind words, smile, and love for you. So when she was gone, our little family went from four people sitting around the table saying our graces to three people doing the same. It felt so strange, so empty, so imbalanced, so sad, and so wrong. That empty chair kept staring at us, haunting us with its never again expressed  words of gratitude.  Aside from the obvious that our child has died and we were just trying to keep our heads above the water and breathe to stay afloat, living for our younger daughter Kalie Bella, something felt off, the constant was constant no more and our dinner table times felt intense, electrified, forced, and uncomfortable. The one thing we all loved the most and that was the center of our family life each day was simply not the same anymore without Bianka.

Until we added another seat to our dinner table.

I really did not expect that this simple act of bringing Luka Rose to sit at the dinner table and try her first solids and “eat” with us was going to shift the dynamic of our little family so much. But it did. And I am so grateful. Luka did not replace Bianka nor we put Luka into Bianka’s chair, but we did place her directly across Bianka’s seat, as if she is facing her big sister across this void of never knowing her but being part of her.

Luka has brought our dinner table back to its equilibrium, not the same one as before, but to its new balanced scale of joy and sorrow, that will now forever be our life. And here is the video of Luka joining us at the dinner table for the very first time so you can see for yourself what this little human has already done for our family.

I guess it is called healing.

The Birth

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On this International Day of the Girl I wanted to talk to you about the birth.

I bet you have already tensed up and wondered if there will be images of birth and blood and if you should stop right here and keep scrolling down the Facebook feed. I want you take a deep breath and relax. There will be no graphic images nor descriptions of actual birth. You dare to continue? Good.

I want to talk about birthing as I feel it is important to share positive experiences of birthing, as there are more negative ones floating around, in media and in the real life, and especially now, in today’s world full of natural disasters, mass shootings, political turmoil, and wars, we need to share the good, share all of the positive and hopeful experiences and things that might help, at least a little bit, to change the way we look at the world, which seems pretty murky to me right now.

So I will start with the terminology. Majority of our fears start in our head and most of our thoughts form through our words and the way we express our thoughts and opinions circles back to the words we use in our every day life. It is all connected in one way or the other as the famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

Why do we call the act of giving birth to a child labor, instead of birthing, why do we call tightening of the uterus or the very beginning phase of birthing, contractions instead of pressure waves, why do we fear these pressure waves as something painful instead of welcoming them as the first step of our baby entering into the world? Why do we numb these pressure waves with an epidural so we cannot feel anything and a medical practitioner has to tell us when the baby is coming and when to push? Why are we so afraid of the pain? Are we afraid of the unknown? Or are we afraid to feel? Why do we want not to feel before we even try to feel?

I am not going to lie, giving three natural births was not a walk in the park, it does hurt and it is probably the hardest or the most painful thing a woman will go through in her life, but it is also the most natural and the most beautiful thing her body will experience. If we surrender and trust our body to do what it is supposed to do and what women have done since the beginning of the life on this Earth, then we are only a vessel to this magical experience of creating and birthing a human life.

I am grateful that my pregnancies and birthing experiences were low risk and without complications and I am grateful that we live in the country that has all of the technology and expertise in case complications arise, but this technology and interventions can also be a double edge sword. If we tend to follow hospital procedures and policies, follow the clock and doctors’ shift schedules, instead of trusting that the baby and mom can do this thing on their own and support them in this belief, there would be less C-sections and complications, at least in my opinion.

And sometimes life does not go as planned as we know, or as some of us unfortunately really know to our core, and even the most desired natural birth plans end up in C-sections or just not as smooth and magical as wished for, and that is OK of course. There is no judging here. My wish is that we at least give natural birthing a chance. My wish is for every woman (that has no medical complications or issues of course) to trust her body and the birthing process and believe not in pain and fear but believe that she can do what her grandmothers and generations of woman before her did without blinking an eye. Lets teach our daughters not to give up before the race even began. Lets teach our daughters and girls not to be afraid of pregnancy and birthing but give them confidence, education, and positive experiences so they can believe they can do this thing called birth. Because they can.

 

 

Waiting on Luka

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So my pregnancy app tells me I have one day to arrival of my baby. I have looked at that number all along randomly and remember seeing 200 days, then 89 days, then 21 days, then 8 days, and now 1 day to arrival. It seems so crazy to be counting down days to the completion of the formation of life, the magical sculpture of God and beauty of genetics and biology coming together to create this body and the spirit who will soon be living among us. How can that be so simple yet so profoundly complicated has never really preoccupied my mind before, maybe because I took this magical life containing body and the spirit for granted. I never really, in-depth, thought about the beauty of the creation, unique, magical, complex, and beautiful creation of life that happens every single second somewhere in the world.

Of course my eyes, my perspective, my emotions, my soul, my heart, my spirit, and my whole being have changed since I lost one of my very own magical creatures to the spirit world. But to believe Bianka is “living” in the spirit world is without the doubt true in my heart and soul and it will be a very joyous moment when I join her there. I can see us just running to each other and embracing in a tight hug until we just can’t hold on anymore. But until then, I realize I have to make the most out of this life I was given. The magical life and spirit in me. My youngest child needs me, my special, good fortune, spunky, Kalie Bella, and now this new life I am about to witness coming to the world.

I have been feeling all of the emotions during the creation and now expectation of Luka’s arrival. I guess this is only to be expected but it has been a whirlwind kind of ride and I am excited and terrified to end it. Just like the joy and sorrow now live hand in hand in my heart for most of my waking hours, excitement and fear have lived hand in hand during the creation of Luka. It is hard to explain as only after you lost something so precious can you experience the real fear of losing it again, yet at the same time experiencing the heightened excitement of receiving it again, not as a replacement, but as a testament to beauty of life, a gift that you will never ever take for granted again.

So I wait, wanting so badly to meet Luka and holding on and not wanting to finish creating this life inside of me…the pull is real and constant and sometimes exhausting.  And as I struggle to find that balance, I remember that I always have a choice, just like the most of us with about anything, the choice to choose which way to give in, which way to let to be swayed, to excitement or to fear. The choice and internal struggle that no one sees but you, that no one lives with but you, that no one hears but you, is real, no matter what that is for me or for you, but you do have a say. I have a say and I am choosing to put fear and sorrow aside, at least for a little while (or I will do my very best, that is all we can do after all, right?) and focus on giving this beautiful creation all that I got.

Mommy is ready for you Luka.

What You Need to Know About Pregnant and Bereaved Mother Before Mother’s Day

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“Is this your first?”

“No, it is my third.”

“Oh. You carry so well. How old are your other ones?”

And as I try to take a deep breath and answer this question, one more time, my focus is on trying to stop my tears, but it is too late. They are already swelling up like the high tide impossible to stop.

So I answer through my tears stumbling on what I should say: “Well, I have, I mean I had two daughters, but my older one passed almost two years ago. She would have been seven and my younger one is five.”

And her face transforms, sometimes to shock, sometimes to compassion, sometimes to sadness, sometimes to tears….it just depends. Sometimes the interaction is short and swift allowing me to wipe my tears and pull myself together and sometimes it is deep and true connection is made between the two mothers.

I understand with my belly being out there and me obviously pregnant that I will get more questions about my children, but with the Mother’s Day coming up and one of my children “missing”, it has been a real struggle to choose joy instead of sadness.

I have been crying at just a thought of Bianka lately. Triggers like hearing a CD that her teacher made with her whole class singing and thinking I will never get to sing with her again. Or hearing her laugh on a video and thinking I will never hear her laugh again. Or seeing her art and thinking I will never receive another Mother’s Day card from her. It has been painful beyond measure this May, especially and maybe because of me expecting and creating a new life, a life that might not have been conceived if Bianka has not died.

Which leaves me all vulnerable and raw with my heart cut wide open to bleed all of its pain this Mother’s Day. So, I guess I would like you to know a few things about a pregnant and a bereaved woman who you might meet or run into one day:

  1. She is doing her best, but she is not the woman she used to be. She is more forgetful, foggy, edgy, irritable, impatient, tired, dark, and jaded. She has lost the most precious thing she ever had and she is forever broken. No new life can fix that.
  2. She is smiling, but she is often putting a face. She forces herself to do so either for her job or her husband or her other children, but often she would not mind just being curled up all day crying her eye balls out on the floor. She hates herself like this but at the same time this is where she feels comfortable, where she feels like her new self. This is the time where she can connect to her angel, where her love and pain collide and create a perfect storm of emotions that she rides sometimes for a day and sometimes longer. She knows that this new life will never be able to replace the one she lost.
  3. She functions, but she is lost. She is desperately looking for her new purpose or searching for the meaning of her life knowing well that this new life she is creating is not it. She has learned the new way of life through finding ways to regain some sense of the control over her life that spiraled out of her control when she lost her child. But she is struggling. Every single day. Who is she?
  4. She looks OK on the outside, but inside she feels empty. No new baby can fill the piece of her heart that will always be missing. The huge hole in her soul is like a crater so deep that nothing will ever fill it up. And she is learning to carry that hole with her, as a part of her, her new self, her new reality that she is still trying to grasp. Is her life real? Did that really happen to her? Is she still in a bad dream trying to wake up? Carrying a new life only makes these feelings even more profound as hormones rage and her emotional capacity and patience bottoming out.

Having said that, it is not safe to assume that a bereaved pregnant mother:

  1. Has moved on
  2. Is OK
  3. Does not grieve anymore
  4. Is happy
  5. Is excited and always wants to talk about her new baby
  6. Is not hurting (especially around Mother’s Day), because she is. And she always will.

3-8

I was always into numbers, and not in a mathematical genius kind of way, unfortunately, but more into, I will remember your birthday if you tell me once, kind of way. People love it when I remember their birthdays, especially if it is out of the blue, or when I remember their anniversary or any other weird date that is just stuck in my memory in relation to that person. Very useful people skill but other than that, it is just fun for me to look for significance in numbers, don’t ask me why.

Which brings me to the numbers 3 and 8. Since I was little 3 and 8 were my favorite numbers. Again, I had no reason why, except that I loved them and thought those were my lucky numbers. As I got older they were still numbers I liked but they lost the lucky title as I just plainly did not play lottery or look to buy a house with a 38 or 83 or any other such combination in its address. Number 3 was especially dear to my heart and I did not realize its significance until recently.

You see, even before Bianka got sick I always felt deep down I would have 3 children. It did not seem it was going to happen as after Kalie was born we were happy with two beautiful girls and were not planning any more, but my feeling was always there. I forever felt I was meant to birth 3 children. The feeling that is hard to describe and is felt deep down in one’s gut, buried in your unconsciousness that knows something your consciousness is still waiting to find out. I always believed in my intuition, always knew you had to listen to it, follow its wisdom even when your mind was against it.

And my mind fought. Last summer I was in such a bad place in my grief and did not know what to do, should I have another child or not was on the repeat in my head 24/7. It seemed like an impossible decision to make at the time and my inability to make it, was driving me crazy. So I turned to prayer and every night asked Bianka to send me a sign so I would know what to do. And guess what? After about 3 months of prayer, she did! It happened on September 13th, 2016 but that story is a post in itself that I might share one day.

And with that, I am happy to let you know that at the age of 38 I conceived a bit of magic that is expected to come to this world on 8/3! Now this numbers thing could all be a coincidence, but for some reason I believe Luka was just always meant to be.

Photo Credit: Bryan Meltz Photography 

The Great Balancing Act

Most of the time I start writing my posts in my head usually in the middle of the night or super early in the morning. Words will just start filling my brain and overflowing the space in it trying to get out and be put down on paper. They are so persistent usually that there is no way in Hell I could go back to sleep so I usually get up and start writing. If I don’t it is a battle and if I win and force myself to sleep eventually, the story will be lost and forgotten, or most of it will. I guess that is what inspiration is. It is a lightening of an insight and creativity that if ignored will vanish.

My first ever poem was written in my dream actually when I was very young, maybe eight or nine. I still remember it. I just woke up in the morning, went to my table and wrote down the poem that was in my head. It was fairly short but it rhymed and it is probably still to this day the best thing that I have ever written. It is in Croatian, otherwise I would share it with you.

Which brings me to this post. It was so intense when it came to me in the middle of the night of course that it took me a while to fall back to sleep. I did not get up as it was cold and I was tired, but the words stayed with me this time.

I have been feeling more joy and happiness lately than I am even willing to admit. Yes, I almost feel guilty for it. But this is the thing. When you experience so much pain and sorrow, your ability to feel joy and happiness increases hundred fold. The ability to be present to joy and absorb it with your every cell becomes the norm as your experience of impermanence of life and reality of death thought you that all you have is joy in this moment, that flaring, flickering second of pure bliss that will disappear if you ignore it. So you soak it up with all of the pieces of your broken heart that are spread all over your chest. And the more you do it the more it grows. It blossoms like the spring flowers in bloom and spreads through your veins like pollen all over the ground.

Now, you think you might know joy. Well, only if you experienced the greatest sadness and heartbreak will you really know what I am talking about. Like Kahlil Gibran so beautifully states in The Prophet on Joy and Sorrow:

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

And I am not complaining of feeling more joy. It just feels strange to feel great sadness and sorrow at the same time as great joy and happiness and be able to go from one to another within seconds. And I realized they are inseparable.

“But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember
that the other one is asleep upon your bed.”

Balancing this great joy and this great sorrow is what I realized is going to be my biggest challenge and obstacle in creating a “normal” life. The great balancing act of feeling just enough sorrow and feeling just enough joy and going effortlessly between the two while sustaining my sanity will not be an easy task. But I am willing to give it my all.

“Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.”

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Elephant in the Room

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Hello new friend. We met recently. In the last year or so, maybe even more recently. I know we do not know each other that well but you most likely know about me by now. You either heard from others that my daughter died or I told you when the conversation turned to children, as it usually does.

And I dread the moment when you find out, every single time as it is the moment my reality is thrown back in my face one more time. Depending on the tide of the grief wave I either hold back my tears or I act “normal” and you wonder how in the world I am pulling it off. And one more time I have to relive the feeling of being different, being this poor mom whose child died. One more time I have to be reminded that I will never be able to go anywhere and be my old normal self.

At the same time, I need you to know. I need you to know that this loss is a big part of who I am right now, and I need to know if you can handle that part of me.

So I watch your face and reaction. It is different from person to person but the level of compassion almost always directly relates to your experience of loss, trauma, tragedy, and sorrow and I can tell it just by looking into your eyes. I do not have to know your life experiences but deep down I know if you can, to some degree, relate or not.

And right then and there I know if there is a chance for us to be closer, or not.

It is that simple now and I hate it, but there is just so much of me to go around these days. It takes a lot of my energy to be “normal” and talk about the weather. It takes everything out of me to “forget” for a moment that I am different and to just enjoy eating lunch out with you. I try, and I do, but there is no fooling really. You know and I know there is a big elephant in the room every time you see me.

What to say to me? What not to say? What to talk about? What not to talk about? Should you invite me to your party or not? Should you reach out or not? It is hard to know and I do not expect you to know and I do not expect anything of you, really.

But I did want you to know that I still want to laugh and hear jokes. I still want to be invited (I can always refuse if I am too down to come out of my shell). I still want to live. I still want to remember my child. I still want to talk about my child. I still want you to acknowledge that my child existed and that you cannot make me more sad by asking about her.

But most importantly I want you to know that I am broken even when I am functioning perfectly, I am struggling even when I am laughing, I am sad even when I find joy looking into my youngest daughter’s eyes, I am tired even when I am strong, and I am alone even when I am with you. I do not want your pity or comfort, just acknowledgment and compassion, real tears included if they come.

And dear friend, I hope you will never understand the pain.

 

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Half Full or Half Empty?

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You heard it million times. It is all about the perspective.  You can look at the glass filled half way with water as glass half full (if you focus on the water) or you can see it as half empty (if you focus on the top part of the glass without the water). I have been  thinking about this a lot lately, every single day actually since Bianka’s passing.

I have always been an eternal optimist. I always believed in good.  I always gave the benefit of the doubt. I always believed in second chances. I always believed I was lucky. I always believed things would work out. I always had hope. I always focused on the sunshine. One of my favorite sayings is that after the rain comes the sun.

I always seen the glass half full.

Even through cancer I thought Bianka would be in that small percentage of the lucky survivors and she would continue to grow up and be happy and healthy.  Of course I did, right? Who would not have?

But since Bianka passed I do not know if would consider myself lucky. Yes, I am lucky that I had Bianka for short five and half years of course, but to consider myself lucky for losing my child to cancer would be crazy. Or did her death gave me even more profound perspective that most people who have not lost a child simply cannot have and should find myself lucky to really understand what is important in life and live in the present?

I keep riding the waves of grief constantly being washed down by the water without being able to see and then sure enough I will raise to the surface to catch my breath and say yet another time: “I made it through another tough day.” I keep switching back and forth between seeing the glass half full and half empty hundred times per day, walking that tight rope of just the right amount of grieving and just the right amount of focusing on life and joy reciting to myself things that I am grateful for.

It is exhausting to say the least.

As I struggle daily to keep looking at that glass called my life and see it half full rather than half empty, I always reach into my heart to feel Bianka’s love shower over me, that deep, sweet, unconditional, and adoring love all children have for their mothers.  That love usually keeps me moving forward and gets me out of my dungeons as it has left a permanent mark on my heart and soul and not even death can take that away from me.

And even through my grief and sadness on this Thanksgiving I am grateful. Grateful for that sweet love that can break the walls of grief and reach deep into the depths of the darkest night with its light.

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that all of you are able to see your life as a glass half full, even in your darkest times.

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