Getting Through January by Deborah

I am glad to see January come and go. January has become a difficult month for me. I used to greet the new year with anticipation and hope and looked forward to what the coming year would bring. Plans were made, resolutions were set, and off I went.

That changed for me two years ago in January when our grandson Liam was stillborn. It was a phone call every parent dreads—my son calling in tears to let tell us this horrible news. I was frozen. We somehow muddled through the next few weeks and felt the pain and grief of loss.

What helped me during this time was the closeness and presence of family. We were able to cry together, hold each other, and grieve as a family. I can’t imagine having to go through this during the pandemic. I would find the loss of human interaction unbearable.

I find I have to struggle, particularly as I age, to find the glass half full. Every doctor’s visit seems to bring some other issue to deal with. I worry about my children, even though they are now adults. I worry about my grandchildren, hoping they will grow up in a world that is safe, clean, and full of opportunity.

I’ve come to painfully acknowledge that the older I get, the more loss becomes a part of my life. Sometimes it’s expected, like the loss of an aged parent, but sometimes it’s unexpected, like the loss of a child. I realize that I am part of the oldest generation in my family, my uncle having passed several months ago.

I am working on presence and acceptance. I realize that I spend too much time worrying about tomorrow and thinking “what if.” I need to consciously greet each day like the new beginning it is. I also need to accept what trials and tribulations I face and do my best to deal with them.

Practicing gratitude has helped me realize how truly lucky I am. My son and his wife were blessed with a “rainbow baby” this spring. I now have two beautiful grandchildren and one angel in heaven.

To be sure, it’s hard to be hopeful and thankful in the midst of a pandemic. But by staying the course and realizing that there is always darkness before the dawn, I believe we can get through this. I so can’t wait to hug my son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and grandchildren again. This too shall pass. Welcome February, and then hopefully spring!

Deborah experienced the loss of her grandson, Liam, in January of 2019. She has two grown children, both adopted, and two grandchildren. Deborah lives with her husband, Keith, and dog, Kovu. Now that she is retired Deborah volunteers with several heart-health focused organizations. She is the author of the book “A Journey of the Heart: Learning to Thrive, Not Just Survive, With Congenital Heart Disease.”

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