With love from a good friend:
I’ve known Deanna since childhood and feel honoured to write this post and be a part of her journey. Even though we've known each other for many years, as we got older and every day life got in the way, we slowly drifted apart, as it does with many friendships.
I had visited Deanna while she was pregnant and when I heard Isabel passed away and a funeral would be held for her, I went to support her.
Days passed and I kept trying to decide when the right time would be to contact her. I didn't know the correct way to approach her situation. I sent a text offering my support. The right words and the right gestures were something I often wondered about.
More time passed and I bumped into Deanna while shopping. We exchanged ordinary and casual conversation at first. I still remember this day so clearly and remember thinking should I ask her how she is doing? Ask her about the loss? Do I mention it? Is this the right time? Does she want me to? Does she want to talk about it? What is right? What is wrong? Many questions played over and over in my mind. Even though I kept overthinking the situation, I took the chance and asked her how she was doing. She knew what I meant, and she began answering. Then, right there in the store, two moms broke down and began crying over the loss and memories of Isabel.
I will always remember this day. This day brought Deanna and I closer together. Since then we have developed a friendship that is truly so amazing it is hard for me to put into words. A friendship of kindness, love, support, positivity, learning, thinking, overthinking and so much more. Each time I think of our friendship, I am reminded of Isabel, and the beauty of her life. Our friendship will always be surrounded by her, and it will grow as a result of her.
We have had many conversations discussing what someone who is grieving a loss goes through and how important it is to Deanna to keep Isabel's memory alive. At first, it was hard for me to understand this. I would ask myself: isn't it easier to not talk about it, not remember the pain and hurt, not to remember the loss or relive the memories? This type of loss is unimaginable and can be hard for someone who hasn't experienced it to understand. I've learned that there is no right or wrong way to feel. I've learned that Deanna, like many others who have experienced loss want to keep the memory of their children alive. She has told me how she likes hearing Isabel's name, talking about her and remembering her daughter.
If you know Deanna or another person who has dealt with loss, ask, mention and help keep the memories alive.
Deanna doesn't think she is brave. When I tell her she is, she often says it's because she has no other choice. She doesn't realize that continuing to live, love, grow and learn, posting pictures of Isabel on Facebook, Instagram and now starting this blog is very brave of her. She could sit in her home privately and grieve on her own, but instead she invited us in on her journey.
For as long as I've known Deanna, she has been a kind and patient person. I have learned a lot from her. I've learned to be a better person, to embrace the positive and rid the negative. I've learned what a true friendship is and to focus positive energy to those people. I've learned to appreciate the little things, to stop and enjoy special moments, appreciate the beauty in everyday life I would normally overlook. I've learned patience for myself and for others. I've learned to stop and enjoy all of the great moments with my children I would have normally rushed past. I've learned that having an open mind, embracing self-exploration and love go a very long way, especially love for yourself and those closest to you. I've learned that you have to love yourself, and that it is even okay to put yourself first sometimes.
Even faced with many obstacles, challenges and an unimaginable loss, Deanna remains kind, patient, positive, and filled with love for Ethan, her family and close friends. It's a beautiful thing to witness and I'm very lucky to be a part of it. Now you can too.
We have to let go of the life we have planned...to accept the one that is waiting for us.