“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you will never completely get over the loss of a beloved person. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather is cold – but you learn to dance with the limp.”
— Anne Lamott, American novelist
I connect with this quote by Anne Lamott on many levels. The journey of grief is long, excruciating and lonely. In time, you 'get through' the darkness of grief but you never 'get over' the loss. You never return to the person you were the day before you lost your loved one. You have to learn to dance with the limp.
Eighteen years ago, I was blissfully pregnant. I had experienced a miscarriage a few months prior which had been devastating but we got strong, believed and tried again. Once I passed the first trimester with this pregnancy I relaxed. I felt we were in the clear. I began to dream about the life we would have and the family we would become. I bought onesies and wallpapered the nursery in little white clouds. On a Friday I was discussing a baby shower with my colleagues at work and on the Monday I was lying in a hospital bed hearing a nurse say, 'I am sorry dear. The heartbeat we are hearing is yours. Your baby has died.' My daughter, Alexandra, was born after a nine hour induced labour. In that moment I began to see life through a black and white lens. The world lost its colour.
I am grateful beyond words to have been subsequently blessed with three living children. They returned the colour to my life. They are teenagers now and they too carry Alexandra in their hearts as their guardian angel. I am sharing this story today because it is her birthday and, while there are still moments where I truly ache for her, I mostly celebrate her and all the beautiful ways she has changed me.
I have learned that grief and loss come in many forms and not just when someone dies. I have learned the importance of simply 'being' in stillness with someone who is grieving. I have learned that the grieving community is largely a hidden one and most suffer in silence. I believe and hope that once someone finds their footing again, however long it takes, they really must try to be a beacon of hope for those just starting the grief journey. I believe we need to speak out. We need to help those souls who are lost in the darkness find their dance again.That is why I created our 'Always Remember' keepsakes. My wish is that by wearing the handwriting of their loved one, the initials of their loved one, or the name of their loved one close to their heart the wearer will feel the connection. They will infuse the piece with the love they have for their lost one. The jewelry will become a talisman of hope and a symbol of strength. Each time I create a memorial keepsake, I light a candle in my studio while I work. I quietly honour the child I lost, I acknowledge the sacredness of the design and I desperately hope, in some small way, that aching hearts will be soothed.
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