Wow never in a million years would I have thought that song would have such an impact on my life in so many ways. When the movie Frozen came out, having 3 girls obsessed, I often found myself singing along too and I loved it…. yes I admit it! I love all of the Frozen songs and know them ALL by heart. It doesn’t get much better than watching your girls dance around the house pretending they are Elsa and Anna and singing their little hearts out. The image makes me smile and cry at the same time now. My Ellery loved those songs and one of her first phrases was “Let it Goooo” (along with “oh my gosh look at her butt” yeah not gonna try to explain that one.) She even had the ticking of the clock down to the song, “Love is an Open Door” (many of you know what I am talking about). Ellery would lip sync the entire soundtrack. Oh do I miss that!
After Ellery died. Let It Go was excruciating to listen to (it was sung at her funeral and played as we released the balloons at her gravesite) and when I hear that song it is like someone is sucking all of the air right out of my lungs. Emilyn, my youngest living child, breaks that song out every now and then. It brings a tear to my eye each time and some painful joy but I know it is one way that a 5 year old grieves for her sister- and that is IMPORTANT. Needless to say, those 3 difficult words now resinate with me in differently than before. This is what Let It Go means to me:
First……… Letting Go of Ellery’s physical body
How do you let go of your little girl? How do you let someone put her body in the cold ground never to be held again? That AWEFUL night that is seared in my brain forever, the coroner had to take her away from us after holding her little lifeless body in our arms for hours. I also remember when they were lowering her casket I grabbed on to it not wanting to Let It Go, knowing the finality of it all- I WAS NEVER GOING TO HOLD MY BABY GIRL AGAIN ON THIS EARTH. People would say to me, “that is not her anymore, she is in heaven” or she is in a “better” place. Tip # 1 Although I believe heaven has to be a better place than all of this suffering here on earth, a bereaved parent never wants to hear “she’s in a better place” – in my ego driven mind the best place for my baby is right here with me. I know that I will NEVER LET GO of her memory or that precious blanket that you see above. I sleep with that blanket every night in hopes of catching a glimpse of her sweet face in a dream. However, I knew in my heart that I had to Let her body go – I had to let go of her an accept that she is safe in the arms of Jesus. THIS IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE!
Second…….. Letting Go of the Guilt
While talking to many grieving parents I have come to realize that there is guilt in every situation and circumstance with child loss. The should haves, would haves, and if onlys are across the board in the bereaved community. I struggle with this one and just when I think I have put the guilt aside it comes back with a vengeance. I know I am a great mama and I would NEVER do anything to harm my children. I pleaded to God to take me instead that day and I would lay my life down for all of my children in a heart beat- that I know. Guilt is a way to torture yourself for your circumstance and believe me, I torture myself. It is much easier to feel guilt, anger rather than forgiving oneself or others. I have let go of some of the guilt but sometimes I think I want to feel the guilt to feel in control of the situation that is out of my control (it sounds twisted but it is true), to blame someone (me)…. it was my fault…. I should have…. if only I…… The reality of it is – we don’t have as much control as we think we do. Do we get to choose when life begins and life ends? Some would say yes, but in my opinion we play a part but I really don’t think we are the rulers of our destiny. I believe we get to choose the path as “LIFE” happens. I believe control is false security, which leads me to my next Letting Go.
Third………Letting Go of Control
I am a recovering control freak. I lived the “it could never happen to me” mindset (this is actually not a bad thing-really, it is better than really “knowing” what can happen). I liked to control everything in my little world. What I have come to realize and believe so far on this grief journey is I am not in control of much (feels like a gut punch). I can control the kind of person I am -by what I say, how I react, what I eat etc. but I have little control on the outcome. I have met so many wonderful parents already that did everything “right”, loved and would do anything for their children and their child dies. (I have also seen with my own eyes small children roaming around busy streets etc. and nothing happens to them) So many stories that don’t make sense or are almost unbelievable but it happened- a child dies….MY CHILD DIED. My husband became a lifeguard a couple years ago out of the blue and our daughter drowns in our presence. I believe God has a purpose and a plan in each of our lives, even Ellery’s short life and we don’t have control over it. I am not sure of my purpose yet but I know the part that I have control over is- what kind of person I become as “LIFE” happens– bitter, angry hateful or faithful, hopeful and full of love. I am just a piece of this mosaic called Life, I must Let Go Of Control and TRUST IN THE PROCESS OF LIFE and God’s plans for me.
Let it go…. The past is in the past
Which leads me to this. I can’t have my baby back physically, her presence and memories are with me always – I will NEVER let go of them. However, torturing myself with guilt is not making me a better person (although this one is hard to stop). I must forgive myself. There is a bigger plan that is in place and I am a tiny piece of it. I have the control or free will of how I respond to my circumstances or “LIFE”. There are many difficult situations in life but it is how we react to our situations that matter. Unfortunately, many of us -including my former self- try to live up to fictitious expectations and demands (out of guilt, control or our ego) that even superwoman/man would have a hard time living up to. Does life need to be full of all the additional stress that we create in it? There is enough without creating more. As the song would say, why not Let It Go and not have it Hold You Back Anymore. The Past is in the Past! Let It Go and Let GOD! I KNOW it is easier said that done but “LIFE” IS -work and learning in progress. Each of us are on our own journey- EVEN OUR CHILDREN. The only way to move through something is to Forgive, LET GO of what tortures you, LOVE DEEP and trust in GOD and the process of life.