“When you recognize that you will thrive, not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them. That you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them. That you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to full them… the word for that is healing.” –C. Strayed
Note: Last year, after the miscarriage I spent in inordinate amount of time reading…I read everything I could get my hands on: fiction, non-fiction, self-help, young-adult novels, medical journals…reading gave my mind a rest, it gave me temporary relief from my grief. I came across this particular quote in a Cheryl Strayed book (I cannot remember if it was her book of quotes ‘Brave Enough’ or the book of her advice column ‘Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar’ where most of those quotes were from) days after the miscarriage and I loved it. I scribbled the quote in my ‘words’ notebook, I had a screen shot saved on my phone, I repeated in my head constantly.
The day of my father’s retirement party was a tough day for me…it was only days after the physical miscarriage started (I was still bleeding, my boobs were still too big to fit in any of my dresses which made me insanely upset- I spent years dreaming of buying clothes to accommodate a baby bump, now I was spending money on clothes to accommodate the symptoms of a pregnancy that would never result in a baby. I remember covering my hand over my mouth trying to muffle my sobs in the Nordstrom Rack dressing room while my mother and sister waited outside)…needless to say, I was struggling. It was also going to be the first time I saw most of my family/friends since the miscarriage. When we found out we were pregnant Dan and I had decided to wait until the retirement party to tell most family members our transfer had been successful, I wanted to tell everyone in person. (Quietly, in a corner somewhere, not stealing any of my father’s well-deserved spotlight!) But, of course there was no good news to share… so my mother had graciously called my family members over the past week to inform them that we had our embryo transfer, we had become pregnant and we had sadly miscarried. I was preparing for an evening of sympathetic glances and hugs that went on for just a few seconds too long. Sitting in my mother’s bathroom on a stool while she did her make-up (the same way I used to watch her as a child, I always thought my mother looked like a princess on the few nights she actually left us when we were little to go on a date with my dad) she asked me how I handling everything. I remember fighting back tears as I told her I was trying really hard to keep it together…and then I opened my phone and recited this exact quote…I remember my mother looking at my questionably, as if she didn’t quite understand what this quote about healing really meant when right now I was so deep in my grief and I said to her “I just want to get to this point…this quote is my goal.”
It’s taken a long time (clearly). Almost every week (or other week depending on how crazy life is) when I think about what ‘words’ to pick on Wednesday I consider this quote…and every week up until today I’ve stopped myself…I have not wanted to post these particular words until I really felt I had reached that goal I set for myself last April. But, today it just felt right. Today those empty bowls…empty of all the things we didn’t get…empty of all the things I thought I deserved…well they feel pretty full. And I don’t mean with regrets, disappointment, anger, grief and tears…they’re filled with compassion, kindness, gratitude, thankfulness, perspective, love, wisdom, strength, peace…and hope. And, with today being the last days in my twenties…I enter my thirties tomorrow with love and peace in my heart…I think the word for that is healed.