Strength. Strength is something I have thought so much about since my full-term loss. This one small word is full of meaning, emotion, and complication. The word “strength” came into play on my journey from day one. My son died and I was told that I would now have to be induced and deliver him. I was in labor for over 14 hours and had the most amazing nurse by my side. I can still hear her words ringing in my ear. She told me I was strong and brave and that I could do this. She told me this over and over and over again. Of course, I did not feel strong. I felt weak, and I felt like my body failed my son, but her words truly gave me strength.
A few months after our son died, I had a second major encounter with the power of the word strength.
We had organized a celebration walk and get-together in his honor. Family and friends came from all over to support us. This was the first time we got to show off the gorgeous nursery we had for Grayson to our friends and family. I remember sitting on the floor of the nursery with some of our friends while we chatted about Grayson.
I remember expressing to this one friend that I had thoughts about suicide and wondering what the point of life was now. She told me I was so strong and she could not imagine going through what I have gone through. I told her that I had no choice, that it is not strength, just simply, I have no choice but to keep going. She looked at me and said, “Well, actually, you do have a choice, and you choose to live.” It was such a small sentence, and yet it impacted me so much. It made me stop and think, you know what, she is right. I am choosing life. I am choosing to live and for my story to keep going on. Every day I wake up I am choosing strength, I am choosing to keep going, I am making that decision to keep living life, and that is powerful.
For some reason, since my loss, accepting that I am strong and do have strength has been difficult for me.
Even four years later, I still question if I am in fact a strong person. Sometimes feeling strength makes me feel guilty, or prideful, or even like a fraud. This simple word comes with so many strings attached. I am slowly learning that it is okay to think of myself as a strong person, a person who has overcome so much and continues to overcome so much. As time goes on, I get more comfortable with the word “strength,” and maybe one day I will be able to describe myself as a strong person.