So very often I am asked the question, "How are you doing?" My answer usually surprises the person asking. My reply lately has been, "I am good. I am in a good place." In the beginning of my journey, I wouldn't have answered that way. I would often respond, 'I'm okay; hanging in there; we are functional' and things like that. And I was just that, okay and functional. But, not now. Now I can answer that I am good and in a good place. Thank God.
Recently I was asked a more provoking question. 'How is it that you are in a 'good place'?' Wow, I thought what a great question. What a deep thing to ask. I am so happy to have been asked that question. How is it that I can be 'good'? I think this is the interesting part of my 'story'. I am sure many people are interested in hearing about my daughter, her life and the circumstances around her death. But, truly, the bigger mystery is how to become okay or even good with burying your child?
This journey did not begin for me December 19, 2010. It began well over a year before that, maybe even longer. But how, or what would move someone to ask me this question. It was in talking to my cousin and my aunt that the conversation about how I was, took a turn in down this avenue. And I truly believe the simple answer to that question is that I started in a different place than most people.
I honestly have to say, I got to this place because I started in a good place to begin with. At the time we lost Gabriella, we had already been attending Sunday mass regularly. I was teaching religion to 4th graders in my parish. An activity I got involved in because I wanted to teach my son, that giving of your time is as important as giving of your money. Children learn through example and mimic what you do, so I figured if my son grew up seeing me participating in such activities, he would grow up wanting to do the same.
I also had previously gone to therapy to deal with issues of loss and grieving after our second miscarriage. Shortly after our second miscarriage, I went to a dark place. I was not happy and had no joy. This was prior to having my son, so I didn't have a lot of distractions from my sadness and pain. I luckily had enough sense to seek out help before I was in too deep and couldn't voluntarily get the help I needed. I started working with a therapist and shortly after went on Prozac. My therapy proved to be helpful and vital to my personal growth. I learned that my overwhelming sadness and grief was not for the loss of my pregnancy. The loss of the pregnancy triggered a deep sadness in me. The lose of my grandfather almost 30 years ago. I worked with that therapist for little over 6 months. After the first, 4 months I was no longer on the Prozac. I came out of the experience a much more grounded and happier person. Would I be the same person you see today without having had that experience, I don't think so.
I hate to say that this was my destiny. I wouldn't want to think I was destined to have carried a baby for 33 weeks only to loss her to unknown causes. But, looking back there were many things that happened and were said, things I felt deep in my soul, that may have been preparing be for the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life. Before losing my daughter, I could not say I had a worse day of my life. I didn't feel like there was anything so tragic that happened to me. But, I can say now, that day and the days, weeks and months to follow were the worst and toughest times in my life.
I think I need to start to explore these things. I think I need to recall them and start to share my story from a new point of view and prospective. The raw emotions have come and gone. The moments of these raw and heart wrenching emotions are not completely gone, but they are farther and fewer between.
Within minutes of walking in to my aunt's home, I saw a decorative tile she had simply laying on the windowsill of her kitchen. The tile was very unpresuming, and wasn't even displayed. But what it said and what it means to me is tremendous, and might as well be brightly lit in neon in her window. It read, "Life is all about how you handle Plan B." I couldn't help but think to myself, "isn't it true? You will see what you are really made of, when you have to live plan B."