When someone breaks a leg (literally), healing could include surgery, rest, and physical therapy. It could take years for the deep pain of the break to feel like it was almost back to normal. Sometimes, the person might even have a limp for the rest of their life. No matter what you’ve done to heal the leg, it’ll never go back to what is was before.

In a crazy way, that’s kind of how grief and healing after losing a child works.

Obviously, one is physical pain and the other is a lot more complicated than that. But, it’s easier to explain something familiar to an unfamiliar situation. Instead of healing a broken bone in the ways I’ve said, for grief I’ve found ways to soothe myself, I rest a lot, and I go to therapy and support group throughout the month. Shock has fizzled out and there are days were I can feel something else besides deep pain.

I can’t tell the future or how my journey of grief and healing will go. There’s not a right way to live after losing a baby. If we keep on the analogy of breaking someone’s leg compared to grief, at physical therapy a person has to find what makes them want to learn how to walk again. Some like the bike and others like the treadmill. With grief, I’ve had to find things that are gentle on my heart. Those soothers are hard to find when everything looks so bleak, but they’re there… I promise.

For me, it’s a few things.

Leo and Poe can make me smile when I feel like nothing else can. They give me motivation to get up every morning and feed them to start my day. Leo gets himself into crazy antics almost every hour, like jumping on top of the shower curtain. Poe, who usually doesn’t want to be held, will come sit on my lap and let me cuddle on him everyday. His purrs are so loud and deep. They both let me care for them in a way I didn’t think I would ever care for anything again.

Hot tea, reading, and writing have saved me. When I can’t stop crying or when I can’t relax enough to sleep, I go to these each time. The aroma of the tea calms me, reading occupies my mind, and writing gets out all my thoughts. I’ve said over and over that it’s been therapeutic to me and that has been so healing. During those times, I feel like time stops and quickens at once. Getting lost in time is sometimes the only thing I know how to do to help.

Human connection. A huge generalization, but so important. I couldn’t imagine being locked up or stashed away somewhere completely alone. Friends, family, and the loss community have been there in different, but important healing ways. There’s understanding from those who have walked my shoes, encouragement and literally being dragged from places by my family, and a sense of trying to understand from friends. Even though grief is so individual, knowing I’m not alone in this journey through all the facets of my support, have helped me soothe and heal.

The last and most important is Jensen and love. I can’t imagine my life without Jensen being in it, which is probably weird to say since he’s not physically here, but he’s all around me. There are days when the only word that helps me is his name; I write it over and over again. I think of all the days I had with him and how the days were filled with joy. Seeing his face each and everyday calms me. He is all I’ve ever wanted. When I look at his urn with his candle lit, I feel a sense of peace. Warmth floods the room and it feels a lot like love. A mother and child’s love is unbreakable. Sometimes I can imagine it wrapping around my heart and trying to put the pieces back together. Love is what makes my world keep turning. It’s what allows me to get up in the morning to feed Leo and Poe. It’s what flows in and out when I read and write. It’s why human connection is even there. More importantly, it’s all Jensen knows and has.

Love is what heals me.

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