Today, was the two year anniversary of Naya's death. In some ways, it feels like it was only yesterday and in others like it was decades ago. All day, I have been thinking about how different it feels from last year. How different I am. How I have grown, have learned and have changed from a year ago.
I am not sure i can even adequately describe how heart wrenchingly awful that first year is, although I am sure if I go through my posts, I could probably put myself there again. I can remember the feeling of waking up everyday wishing I was dead. How I spent most of my time constantly searching for any little sign of her, even though I knew she was gone. That first year is very irrational. You are thinking that you have the power to bring them back, be it by the sheer force of your pain or the amount of anguish in your heart. You believe that if you somehow think the right thing or retrace your steps in the right way, you might somehow figure out a way to turn back time and make their death never happen. You spend that first year living in your head, reliving your worst nightmare over and over just in case you might be finally able to find a way to think yourself out of it. You are in such denial that you can't/don't want to conceive of the idea that life is going to continue without your child. You don't want to face that reality because of how badly it hurts.
The second year has been much different. That feeling of tremendous despair isn't there anymore. I don't know if it was just having Rhone or the fact that I had made it through a whole year without her but I was able and ready to start living again rather than just going through the motions. I learned to love, to laugh and to feel real happiness again. And, despite the guilt, it feels good. I want to live. I want to wake up in the morning and see my children and my husband and live my life. I will always wish that she was here but I have come to a place where I realize that she is not coming back. Maybe it's acceptance or maybe it's just dealing with reality. I still search for her but it's not in the same desperate way as it was in the beginning. I search for her because it makes me smile. Thinking about her, although it brings tears to my eyes and a pain in my heart, makes me happy. It makes me feel close to her. It makes her feel real and I have learned to treasure that. Despite the fact that she is gone, Naya will always be me daughter and part of our family. I will always love her and miss her. I am thankful for all she has given me. The relationships that have grown, the extra love that I feel for my children, the beauty that I see in nature, my sense of responsibility as a citizen of the world - the person that I am becoming is because of her and for that, I am grateful.