I remember the first time I smiled after we lost Sahar. I didn’t even get to finish that smile when my heart filled with this unbearable weight and my mind was blaming me for having the audacity to smile, just when I had lost my baby, my firstborn. How could a smile have escaped me? How could that happen? I just lost my baby! Guilt, anger and disbelief clouded my mind and heart. Didn’t I love my baby enough? What kind of a person was I? What kind of a mother was I?
I’ve spent over 3 months lingering in this dark place from one corner to the other, lost in my grief, buried in memories and what ifs, consumed by feelings of guilt and pain. Despite of the numerous times that Frank tried to convince me that a laugh, a good moment or a moment of relief was not a betrayal to my daughter, nor a betrayal to her memory, I kept feeling guilty, every single time a good thing happened.
Then Katrin’s wedding arrived. The night before we left, I had a dream about Sahar. I could feel her lying in my arms. I was singing to her, that beautiful tune of hers. Just a small bump unborn, for five months then torn from life… Tears clouded my eyes when that beautiful sensation of her weight in my arms slipped away in that world of dreams as I re-entered the world of reality. It was a sad day for me, with lots of mixed feelings. The consciousness of how different this day should have been. The excitement of being with Katrin and Alex on their great day…
The feelings and events that unfolded the next days were completely unexpected. I had never imagined to spend those days feeling so much peace in my heart. Having so much fun. Witnessing and feeling so much love at the same time. Laughing so hard that my belly hurt (seriously!). Waking up with a smile on my face. I was happy. I smiled. I enjoyed. I laughed. I lived. I loved. And the best part: I didn’t feel guilty about it.
I finally realized that it’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to not feel sad all the time, it’s okay to laugh, to love and to live. Experiencing these genuinely good and happy moments is a true gift. It’s not something that I have to suppress or avoid because it does not mean that I stop grieving or that I stop hurting. I never will. It just means that happiness and peace transcend the sadness and pain for a while. And I honestly hope those whiles get longer, that they happen more and more often. Because I am still here. I am still standing. I am still on this Earth. And I want to live this life in all it’s glory and marvel, in all it’s pain and sorrow, in all it’s beauty and genuineness.
Sahar lives on in my mind, she lives on in my heart. She was with me during every laugh, every smile, every emotion. I am sad, but I am also happy. I am broken, but I am also healing. I’m missing a piece of me, but I am also complete. And I know she’s happy, that I’m slowly starting to find this balance again. And I know this because I have never seen so many signs from her in such a short amount of time. Butterflies floricking around us all the time, cute little sparrows landing next to my feet and looking right at me with tilted heads, a soft breeze caressing my face while I thought of her. She was there, with me. These are her new memories.
Every bereaved mother knows how hard it is to start living again, to start enjoying again, to start being happy again. Every bereaved mother knows how difficult it is not to let grief define your entire being. But we, bereaved mothers, deserve to be happy. We deserve to live and breathe in every second of life. We deserve to love and be loved. We deserve to laugh and have fun. Grief and hurt will always be a part of our lives. It came hand in hand with the unconditional and everlasting love we feel for our children. So when a little bit of sunshine and happiness comes knocking on your door, invite it in, to stay as long as it can. Embrace that moment. Live it to the fullest. Enjoy every second. Absorb every feeling.