The Wheelchair

Last night I had a conversation with a friend about grieving which got me thinking about my own grief in relation to my pregnancy, childbirth and everything that followed. Although I am grateful for our miracle twins, I also felt a deep sadness from having a very complicated pregnancy only to be followed with our micro preemie babies spending three long months in the nicu. The funny thing ( or maybe not so funny) is that it took me a long time to feel anything other than fear. Mostly I was just very tired and numb. It's a strange reality to be living on auto pilot and thinking I should be feeling certain scripted feelings, yet not feeling them at all. I lived like that until shortly after our children turned two years old. Even when Felicity was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy around eighteen months I did not shed a tear. In fact I don't remember feeling much of anything. It wasn't until more than six months later when Felicity's wheelchair was delivered that reality not only set in, but knocked me completely off my feet. It's not like I didn't know the wheelchair was coming, after all I was there when it was ordered. I clearly knew Felicity was no where close to walking, but for some reason upon delivery of "the chair" I felt something inside me break. The sudden rush of emotion completely overtook me and was unstoppable. I cried and cried and cried some more. I truly became unhinged for awhile, paralyzed with sadness and anxiety. The realization that my beautiful daughter couldn't walk was almost too much to bear and the wheelchair made it seem so final. Even today, almost 4 years later, I still get a sickly feeling in my belly when I reflect back to that time. I have no doubt that the suddenness and power of my so-called "break" came as a shock to my friends and family. After all no one was caught off guard more than myself and yet I can say with total certainty that it was a blessing in disguise. It was the beginning of healing and acceptance. It allowed me to become unstuck and move through my feelings to a better place. It gave me the gift of clarity and strength to say " okay, where do we go from here?" Ryan and Felicity will be six years old in a few weeks and Felicity is on her second wheelchair. She wants to walk and practices with a lot of support and assistance. I don't cry for my daughter anymore because I know that she feels the love we have for her. She is the kind of happy that is contagious to anyone who knows her. This is our normal...It just is what it is. Grief is such a personal thing and so different for everyone. There is no expiration date or wrong way to grieve. I am so grateful for the people in my life that stood by me and didn't judge or criticize. I am equally grateful for a full, happy life in which the wheelchair is now simply part of.  It no longer symbolizes anything all...It's just a chair. Today I prefer to focus my attention where it belongs, on our beautiful girl, Felicity and sweet little boy, Ryan. Our children.
~Yours Truly Maxinne