death.birth.Hope

This story has cut me open. Left me vulnerable. Scared. Exhausted. Raw.

The uncomfortable truth. All of our ugly pieces that we hide from the world. The darkness in our soul that we pretend doesn’t exist. Oh, it exists. You can only run from it for so long before it catches up with you – and it will catch up with you.

All of those masks that we wear. Why do we do it? Fear of judgment? From who? What exactly do we think we are hiding from? And who are we hiding from?

How long can we do it before our house of mirrors comes crashing down, shattering into thousands of pieces? Everything we thought we were, destroyed in an instant. We’ll try to pick it up…try to put it back in place, just like we have always done before. The only problem is, it’s never all come falling down at once.

We’ll grab those tiny, razor sharp shards of glass, one by one, quickly  before anyone can see…they will cut our body. We will bleed.  In that moment, we realize…the illusion is over. It’s done. We have been utterly stripped down, to nothing. Shaken to our core. Our soul is raw and numb, and we finally become conscious for the first time that the only way to go on is to create an entirely new existence, from the inside out.

As I start this post, I am drinking my first real cup of coffee in 4 months. None of that decaf bullshit. No tea. Real coffee. Why is this of significance you ask?

I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was already the proud mother of three amazing little boys, so our baby girl was the perfect grand finale to the creation of our family.

We were so excited when we found out we were expecting. My husband and I could both feel her presence around us months before we actually conceived. We could feel a little girl with us every day. All three of my boys could feel her as well. They were constantly talking about their baby sister. My five year old is actually the one that told me I was pregnant. He came up to me, kissed my belly and said, “Mommy, did you know that you have a baby in your tummy?” He was the reason I took a pregnancy test.

I was sick. SO SICK. All day, every day. I was miserable. But I enjoyed every minute of it. Never once did I wish it was different. This was good! It meant my body was really responding to the life that was growing inside of me! This was a great sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Weeks went by, I was starting to feel so much better. I reached the 13 week mark and I celebrated! I had passed the first trimester with flying colors! Having previously had a few miscarriages, getting through the first trimester was always the scariest part. But we did it! She was here to stay! I was so thrilled. This was happening!

We started making changes to accommodate our growing family. We purchased a larger vehicle. We found a bigger home. I could see it all, I could feel it… and after everything we had been through, finally, I thought to myself, finally our life was coming together. Wholeness. I felt whole for the first time.

Now I’ve gotta put it all out there for a minute.

Before I continue, we need to lay a few ground rules.

My coping mechanisms are as follows:

  1. God
  2. Coffee
  3. Swear words
  4. Sarcasm
  5. More swear words
    …and probably in that order.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way – I shall go on.

All my life, I have built up walls around me. Some served a purpose and  were necessary just to go on in life. Others were to create a false sense of control and safety for myself. The idea of being vulnerable…it was absolutely terrifying. It has taken me all of my life to understand that vulnerability is not weakness. It is strength. It is courage. It is love. It is hope. Why is it that we admire someone else’s vulnerability, yet when it comes to our own, we’ve got that shit on lock down? Other people’s stories are courageous, but ours are what? Not good enough?  Disgraceful? Shameful?

So you see, I have adopted this new motto in life – FUCK IT.

Seriously. I give up. I give up trying to act like everything is great all of the time. I am done pretending like I’m not broken too. Listen, we are ALL fucked up in one way or another.

Own that shit! It’s part of us. It’s not going anywhere. We might as well embrace it, make peace with it. Without darkness, there is no light. Without light, there is no darkness. You can not have one without the other.

I have prided myself in the illusion of control. From the outside looking in, I appear to have myself, and my life together…and I liked it that way. There was no way that I could let others see my imperfections. Not after all I had been through,  everything I had fought for.

The life I had created for myself was built on a foundation of I’ll show you’s, now am I good enough for you’s, and giant fuck you’s.  I had so many masks – “I’m not broken, I’m not bruised, I’m not scarred… I am perfect…enough about me, let’s fix you, let’s talk about you and your problems.”

As a healer, our role is to guide our clients to their Higher Self. Help them take control of their life. Help them, help themselves. However, (and maybe this is just me, but I highly doubt it) I never wanted to be found out for who I really was. I would offer bits and pieces of my story to my clients if I thought it could be helpful in their healing process, but no way would I ever give them the whole thing. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I thought that if people knew my story, my struggle, surely they would never want my help. I am just as messed up, if not more! Who would take me seriously? Who would trust me to guide them? And the funny thing is…my story, my scars, these are the things that make me so great at what I do. These were the experiences that sculpted my heart into what it is today. The things that I’ve been through are the REASON I care so deeply for humanity.

Us lightworkers…we are funny people, we are. We hold ourselves to an entirely different standard than we do the rest of the world. YOU can fall apart. YOU can be a disaster. YOU can lose control. That is all perfectly natural and healthy human behavior. Me? – Oh no. No thank you, that’s not for me. I am the fixer, not the one who needs fixing. This has always been me. Even as a little girl, I can remember being the strong one, no matter what was happening. You wouldn’t see me fall apart. Nope! Not me! I am in complete control. Inside I was shattered to pieces, but you’d never know. I would take those broken shards and just sweep them away…we didn’t need to pick those up. Don’t look at them; don’t even think about them…just carry on. Carry on like you do. I am the strong one. They need me. If I breakdown they won’t rely on me. They won’t love me anymore.

I am finally ready to share some of my darkness with you, because I know that the more we talk about this (instead of just seeing everyone’s made up *perfect* lives on Facebook), the more we accept these parts of us, maybe we can learn to heal, learn to love ourselves, and understand we are not alone in this crazy fucked up world. Maybe we are not as broken as we think. Maybe we are not less than everyone else. Maybe…Just maybe…We are all exactly the same, doing the best we can with what we’ve been dealt.

The last 3 years (the last 2 years specifically) have been shitty. Really fucking shitty.

Now my Higher Self would say, “Oh love, don’t judge these experiences as good or bad. They just are. They are part of the process. The learning experience. They were meant to guide you on your path.”

And I would reply, in my God given right Human nature (which I very rarely allow myself to accept), “Higher Self, I don’t want to hear it! I’m pissed at you! I’m pissed at God! Don’t you dare tell me I should enjoy this!”

It all started when my husband, Nicholas, lost his job. He was a truck driver, commuting three hours (unpaid) for work every day. He would leave the house at 2 a.m., not to return home until 7 or 8 at night. We had just had our third child. We were both sleep deprived. I had postpartum depression, three children that needed me, a business to run and a husband that was gone all of the time.

Then December 20th of that year, he lost his job. At first, being the optimist that I was, I thought, what a blessing in disguise. He can take this time to recoup. Catch up on sleep! No more commuting. No more late nights. More family time. I had absolutely no problem being the provider so that he could take some time for himself. So we switched roles. I worked; he stayed home with the boys. It was great! – For two weeks.

Fear of society’s judgments crept in. Our egos began to run the show. Nicholas didn’t feel like he was being the man he should be, and he began to resent me. I felt unappreciated, and I began to resent him.

(Did you know that there is this thing called communication? Apparently it’s this magical thing that when flowing properly, it can actually resolve conflict…sometimes even stop it before it happens! Who knew?!)

Nicholas was searching for a job (just like everyone else in town). Finally, after six extremely uncomfortable, irritable months, he landed a job! Yay! Things were going to get better!

Then, my father-in law became extremely ill. Fighting for his life, the odds were against him. My sweet Nicholas, once again, was left heartbroken and lost. I wanted to be there in every way possible. I tried to be supportive. I didn’t mind taking on extra duties.

My husband had completely checked out of life. He fell into a deep depression. He was so far under, there was no way I could pull him out. I was devastated, watching my best friend, the love of my life fade away. I kept trying to pull him in, but he would just push further away. He didn’t want to be saved.

It was selfish of me to think he should be able to find comfort in us, his wife and children. It was selfish of me to try to rob him of an experience that his soul was meant to have.

One day, I got really angry. “Why can’t you see what’s in front of you?! Why can’t you just lean on us for support?! Why are you pushing us away?! We love you! We need you! LET ME HELP YOU!” (…Do you see my need to be needed there?)

Apparently, I didn’t feel that he was handling the situation properly, so I stepped in to “help”. This was not the right move on my part. Instead of allowing him feel what he needed to feel, go down to the depths of his soul… I pushed him away even further. Not only did he feel helpless and brokenhearted about his father, now he felt like he wasn’t good enough to be my husband either.

He moved out.

a7fb9ea160146d6e45d6e68a43022417My world fell apart. He’s my best friend. My everything. This traumatized me. It sent me into a whirlwind of unworthiness, doubt, fear…anger! How could he do this to me?! He knew about my past. How I’ve been heartbroken, emotionally scarred and used up and abused by men. I opened up to him! I trusted him! That fucking asshole. “Never again”, I said, “Never again will I let down my guard”.
Do you see how selfish I was?! It was revolting. Not once did I stop to think what HE was going through. All I knew was that he was MY rock. He was the grounding one in the relationship. Honestly, I didn’t know what I would do without him. But I didn’t want to acknowledge my own insecurities, and I certainly wasn’t going to let him think that I needed him, so it was easier for me to be mad at him.

You see, this had been a common theme in our relationship. Me, putting on my “I don’t need a damn thing from anybody, and I certainly don’t need a man to take care of me!” mask. I never realized what I thought to be a strength, was actually weakening my relationship with my husband. He knew I was strong and independent. He never wanted to take that away from me. But every time he would, in his way, lovingly, try to protect me or step up to feel like he was doing his part as the man, I would shoot him down. It would make me angry. I would feel like he was trying to hold me down.

He did no such thing! This had absolutely NOTHING to do with him! This was all my shit that I had been carrying around with me. My ugly pieces. My darkness. The parts of me that I pretended didn’t exist…but they creep in don’t they?

After a few months of being apart, we started marriage counseling.  I was still pissed. I told myself I wasn’t going to back down. Then our counselor… pfft, that guy…. jerk. He broke me. He broke me with one sentence:

“Autumn, I want to to look at Nicholas and tell me what made you fall in love with him in the first place.”

WHY WOULD HE DO THAT TO ME?! Mother fucker… he looked right through my soul and said the ONE thing that made me drop my guard.

Looking at Nicholas,  all of a sudden, I remembered how madly in love with this man I was. All of him. And I had been, from the very first moment I met him. It truly was love at first sight. All of those memories came flooding back to me. I knew instantly when I met him, this man was my soul mate. He was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with – and he still was all of those things. He hadn’t changed, not for the worse anyway. He hadn’t become someone I didn’t like. No, the only “problem” was that he had lost himself. He was soul searching, and instead of me holding his hand when he needed, taking a step back when he needed, or walking in front carrying the lantern when he needed…what did I do? I made it about me. My wounds, my brokenness, my afflictions.

Where do those lines get blurred? What makes those twitterpated feelings fade? Oh that’s right… life. Life fucks you up. It knocks you down on your ass and laughs at you. You get back up, and it trips you again. And somewhere along the way, you become so fixated on what you think life is supposed to be like,  you lose sight of what your heart actually desires.

We went to lunch that day after our counseling session… and we fell in love all over again.

“Alright”, I thought. Let’s do this. We are stronger and wiser. Fresh start. We won’t make those mistakes again. And we didn’t. We made different ones.

Less than a month after our family was reunited, our youngest son Carson, who had just turned 2, was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. You can read his story here. Kawasaki disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the heart and blood vessels. It is life threatening if it isn’t caught within the first 10 days after onset. Once again, our world had been turned upside down. Almost losing your child will do that to you. This time though, through the heartache, Nicholas and I were stronger. We were there for each other. We leaned on each other. It pulled our whole family in closer. It was another one of those, “Never again” moments. “Never again, will I take my family for granted.”

“Never again”…I don’t know about you, but I’ve said that more times in my life than I can count. We have excruciating moments in our life that are meant to smack us awake. We overcome those times of agony, making us stronger and wiser than before. We always say, “Wow, I can’t believe how much I took for granted”. Until our next spiritual awakening happens, and then we say it again. It always amazes me how much I still take for granted.

About three months after our family was shaken again, another piece of my world fell into darkness. My mother, who lives 1200 miles away, became very ill. As a healthcare provider, I felt that it was entirely my responsibility to make her better.

Over the phone.

With no actual way of treating her.

Things were not improving, and I blamed myself.

Right at the same time, I quit my “side-career” that I had spent the last 10 years of my life developing. This was something that gave me my identity. This particular thing gave my life meaning – so I thought. I felt like this thing was why God put me on this earth. It was huge, life changing, and the result of what we had created helped thousands of lives. Yet, I knew the time had come for me to walk away. I had a business partner as well. He was the most inspirational person I had had in my life to this day. He was the first one who believed in me. The first one to help me see my worth. He was the reason I had a successful healthcare practice of my own. He was my mentor, friend, and spiritual adviser. However, because of my choice to walk away and among other things, the relationship changed, to where now, it is non-existent.

I lost myself. I had no idea who I was or what to do with my life. Work had always been one of my top priorities. It gave me a sense of purpose.

This is something I really struggled with – the work/family balance. I felt guilt and shame no matter what I did or where I was. When I was at work, I felt like I should be home. When I was at home, I felt like I should be at work. I was trying to be completely perfect at so many different things, that I wasn’t actually doing any of them well. They were all falling apart. My family, my business, myself. Again, the guilt and the shame were screaming at me louder than ever before. I was truly in the midst of an identity crisis.

I didn’t know what to do, but the only thing I “knew” for sure was that I was the problem. It was me. Whatever it was, it was me. I was a failure. I was a bad mom. I was a bad wife. I was a bad daughter. I was a bad friend. I was a bad business owner. I was a bad practitioner. All of it. I was terrible.

My solution? Leave. “You don’t deserve any of this. Look around you, you’ll never be good enough for your husband. He’s way out of your league. He settled for you. He’s only with you now for the kids. You’re worthless. You cant even run your business. You gave up your chance at success. You’re nothing now and you’ll never be anything. Just leave already. He doesn’t want you anyways. Especially now.”

Yep. I did it. I ran away. Took kids and moved out.

I had never felt such emptiness. Darkness. I mean D-ARK-NESS. I don’t even have the words to describe this kind of hopelessness. This was something I had never felt before…not to this degree anyway.

Those were the worst 3 months of my life. And I’ve been through some shit. But this. This was different. My husband is my other half. He is my light. He is my protector. He is my heart and soul.

We barely spoke that whole time. Didn’t even make eye contact. Every time I would see him my heart would break all over again…and the weird thing is, it hurt even worse every time.

I fucked up. Bad. I knew he’d never take me back. How could he? He hated me, it was obvious. Hell, I hated me, so I certainly didn’t blame him.

Then one night, out of no where I decided; Fuck it. Fuck this. Fuck running. Fuck everyone. I want my fucking life back!525fc7ba6533b5665089c0b7d07e96e5

I texted him, “I love you.”

He wrote back, “What?”

I poured out my heart. He asked if I wanted to meet the next day to talk.

“Is this really happening? He really wants to talk?…I thought he hated me…”

Do you know what that man did?! Let me tell you –

He didn’t hate me. He was madly in love with me still. This man knows me better than I know myself. He cut me off. He intentionally didn’t look me in the eye. He knew, if I was going to do this, I had to DO IT. All of it. It had to hurt. There wasn’t going to be an easy, friendly way out of this. No, it was going to hurt. Because only then, could I feel the truth.

But do you know what else he did?

He kept a journal. Every day, from the day I left, he wrote to me. He wrote me a love letter every fucking day. Sometimes two or three. He poured out his soul onto paper. He told me goodnight and that he loved me every night. Not one of those letters displayed any anger. Not one. He took the time to reflect on who he was, what kind of man he wanted to be. What kind of life he wanted to live. He discovered what he wanted to do with his life. He made a business plan. He used those three months to better himself. He never lost hope; he never lost sight of our family. Yes, of course he had doubts. But he never let those fears take over. This man LOVES me. L-O-V-E-S me. With every fiber of his being. The day we met to talk, he handed me the journal. He said, “I’m so happy you finally woke up.”

“Never again”, I said. “Never again, will I take my family for granted”.

Every time I was broken down and ripped apart I would wonder, “How could I have been so unaware?”, “How could I have let that happen?”, “How did we get to that point?” And the answer was always the same – “because that’s what my soul needed.”

Each one of those experiences left me feeling destroyed, yet reconstructed. Each one hurled me forward, making me more aware of my authentic self…and I almost, kind of, began to like that person. You know, the one I had been hiding from the world and running from all of my life.7e06e2a34cc2408d5500eba68ea5c538

With each part that felt like destruction, came a sense of freedom, creation…a new beginning. Little did I know,  piece by piece, I was laying a new foundation for the life I was meant to discover. With each breakdown, or breakthrough rather, I let go of a little more guilt, a little more shame. What it was that my heart truly desired became increasingly clear.

All this time I had been striving for a life of “success” in all areas. However, my idea of what this should look like was horribly distorted. I would know I had “made it” when I had more than enough money, and things to show for it. My marriage would be flawless at all times. My children would act perfectly. My house would be spotless. I was constantly chasing this idea of perfection, thinking “I would be happy when…”

All of these ideas originated from childhood and my early teen years. I had experienced so much at such a young age, I was determined to “be something”. I was going to achieve greatness in the eyes of others. I would prove everyone wrong. And so, the insatiable quest for success began.

Funny thing about perfection – it’s soul sucking. I had spent so much time and energy doing things that I thought I wanted, things that I thought would make me happy, and all along it was stripping me of all joy completely. And all that time, my heart was crying out, “Please stop doing this to us. Why can’t you see who you are and why you are here. See the love in your soul. Please, I am begging you, love yourself!”

And that’s when life knocks you down. It will obliterate your reality to get you to see who you really are. When our soul has gone rogue, the universe has a way of getting us back on track.

We had been beaten down and got back up. Shoved down and rubbed in the dirt some more, but still we rose up. Finally – FINALLY – our future looked a little brighter. There I was, I had beyond a shadow of doubt, realized that I had everything I could ever need. Three beautiful, healthy children. An amazing husband that would be by my side through the worst of times. I was learning to accept my darkness, embrace it, weave it in to my heart, and allow it to guide me to my higher purpose. I was gaining momentum again.

Now I was pregnant with our fourth child, a baby girl! “What a beautiful ending to those dark times”, I thought. We were having the hardest time deciding on a name for her. This really bothered me. I had never had such a hard time choosing a name. Actually, my kids all chose their own name. They told me in dreams, and Rysan, my 5 year old (he’s always been the most vocal, even in the womb!) he actually told me to get out the pendulum so he could spell it out for me. Yep, those are my kids!

So with her, I thought it was odd that she hadn’t said anything yet. Then one day, my husband (a.k.a. the recycling Nazi) pulled something out of the trash that I had thrown away. He said to me, ” Hey, so you see this little triangle on the bottom that says Hope in the center…yeah, that means it’s recyclable.” “Huh”, I thought, “Hope…I like that name”.

The next day, one of my soul sisters, Tasha, came to visit. Reaching into her pocket, she said, “So Chelsea gave me this rock. She said that someone needed it. We thought it was you.” On the rock, the word “Hope” was engraved into it. And so, it was settled. Her name was Hope.

I had a dream about her, she was so tiny. She could fit in the palm of my hand. She was curled up on my husband’s chest, then the view switched, and she was curled up on my chest. I kept saying over and over, “She is so tiny, why is she so small?”…

Unfortunately, the happily ever after I had began to picture in my mind was short lived. At 17 weeks pregnant, my water broke. I had just finished my work day. The moment my last client walked out the door, my water broke.

I had woke up that morning, and I just felt really off. I had a terrible headache. I felt sad. I felt empty inside. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling that way. My oldest son had just left that morning for a 2 day field trip with his school. I thought, maybe I was just having a “mom moment”. My kids are all growing up so fast… my oldest is headed off to middle school soon…that must be what’s the matter, I thought.

I rushed to the hospital when my water broke. An ultrasound confirmed that there was absolutely no fluid left, but my baby was fine, she still had a heartbeat. My doctor knelt down next to me, and told me I had two choices;

  1. I can abort the baby.
  2. I can go home, and pray with everything I’ve got for a miracle.

I chose option number two of course. My baby still had a heartbeat! I was NOT going to give up on her!

I went home, rested, prayed, cried, prayed some more…

I could still feel her wiggling around. We talked, her and I. I told her how much I loved her. How much we wanted her to be a part of our family.

Two days later, I woke up with a horrible back ache. I felt something… I went into the bathroom, looked down, and there was her foot sticking out. Panic set in. What do I do? Oh God, WHAT DO I DO?! I grabbed a towel and knelt down. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t stop this from happening. fcf34933084f5217b5602f222b39bb59

As I was delivering her, kneeling down, scared, helpless…I felt my soul sever into two parts. One piece of me was removed, observing what was happening. The other piece was still in my body, feeling all of it, screaming out at God.

There she was, in the palm of my hand, just like my dream. She already looked so much like our family. She had my husbands hands and feet, his nose, my lips. Our little Hope Nichole…Our baby girl. Our grand finale. I wrapped her up in a blanket.

Tasha was at my house visiting that morning. She was by my side through the whole thing. She called the hospital.

The placenta wouldn’t detach, so I had to go in for immediate surgery.

My husband and I walked into the hospital, carrying our baby girl in my arms. My head hung low. My world shattered once again. People stared at us as we walked through the halls, I could hear the whispers…

My husband and I took turns holding her until it was time for me to go into surgery. I handed her off to the doctor, who took her up to the OB department. They took her footprints, and dressed her in a crochet white and pink hooded blanket.

Surgery didn’t go as well as they had hoped. I lost over a liter of blood. My heart went into tachycardia. Then they couldn’t get me to wake up after surgery. I somewhat came to as they were shocking me, trying to create a reaction. I couldn’t move or respond, but I could hear them talking. “Her heart rate still hasn’t stabilized.” “I’m really worried about how much blood she lost.” “She’s not responding.”

All I could think was, “Fuck! They fucked me up. I’m fucked up!”

I came to, things started to normalize. They took me to a recovery room to be with my husband. They brought down Hope, and I held her until it was time for me to go home. I looked at her one last time as my husband laid her in the bassinet, knowing that would be the last time I would see her. The next time I would have her, she would be ashes in a box.

That night, there was no rest for my soul. I somehow managed to close my eyes for maybe 30 minutes, when I awoke to the lightest, softest rain I have ever heard. It was so sweet, so gentle. I truly felt Gaia’s presence with me. In the rain, I heard Mother Earth say to me, “We are with you dear one. You will not cry alone, we are with you. We are crying with you.” Then in the distance, I heard an airplane. It sounded exactly like my baby girl’s heartbeat on the last ultrasound we had.

The next morning, my 5 year old crawled into bed with me as he usually does. We snuggled for a while, and then he turned towards me and held his hand over my heart. He started to move his little hand in a circular motion, and he says to me, “God is filling you with all of his love right now. He will take away all of your hurts.”

My sweet Rysan, so intuitive. His little heart can feel what his mind can not yet comprehend.

The next several days I had so many emotions running through me, and yet at the same time I couldn’t feel anything at all.

I was angry. Angrier than I have ever been. I have spent most of my adult life creating a relationship with God and the Universe, and for the first time I had doubts. I knew they would pass…but I had never been this angry with Him before. How could he do this to me – to us?! All I do is try to put love into this world! I am compassionate, empathetic, generous! I give my heart and soul to everyone I meet. Why would you do this to me?!

My beautiful friend Chelsea… I cant even begin to describe this dear one’s soul. We often refer to her as Jesus. Not in a blasphemous way…not at all. We call her this, because truly this woman – God speaks through this woman. God’s love pours out of her soul. She is our tribe’s guiding light. The voice of God. The one we call on when we don’t have the words to form a prayer.

She could feel me in that very moment. I got a text from her – “Rest easy, breath deep, say fuck all you want. Be angry, have peace…whatever it takes. Let ALL the emotions come, let them come and wash over you one by one. Don’t push them away.”

I responded with, “Thank you, I needed that…” And what I meant by that was, I needed someone to tell me that it was okay to NOT be okay. I needed to know that it was okay to fall apart. To be angry. To lose control of my emotions. Drop my guard. Be heartbroken and destroyed.

I thought I had to be strong, for my boys, for everyone else. I didn’t want to fall apart again. I didn’t know what to feel. I was so sad and empty, I just wanted to curl up into a ball, alone, and stay there. Then, I felt guilty because I had three other kids that needed their mother. But what about Hope? She’s my baby too. If I put on a brave face will she think she didn’t matter to me? Oh Lord, please tell me what to do. How do I move forward? I didn’t want to feel stuck. I didn’t want to fall into a deep darkness. I literally felt completely paralyzed.

Chelsea, replied with this, “Here let me start. Lord – why? Why did you do that? Why did you take our baby? I’m heartbroken. I know you have reasons but I’m empty now. I’m left with an empty hole that can’t be filled, not by my husband, not by another baby, not by my loving family. I’m forever missing a piece of my heart. I know you love me God, I know you love me. I am hurting. I am angry. I am sad. Help me see the new, help me see what you can make beautiful from these ashes, help me grieve. Allow me to let you in and fill in the missing pieces. I don’t know how to be present for my boys or even myself right now. I don’t even know what right now is. Please heal our hearts. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

Spot. Fucking. On. She read my soul out loud.

I literally could not form words to tell God how I was feeling. All I could pray for was for Him to hear my heart, and He answered with my beautiful soul sister saying, “I hear you sister, let me be your strength, let me be your voice.”

I had tried. I really tried to control my emotions. Pretend like I was okay. Pretend like I could move forward. But the truth is I just simply didn’t know how. I yelled at Him. I swore at Him. I was filled with rage, sadness, grief…

And then…I hear baby girl whisper, “we did this for you.”

My daughter’s death, was my birth. Her soul mission was entirely to support me, create me, help me let go of all the bullshit I had been carrying around with me for years. Self worth, judgment, fear, guilt…All of it. Gone in an instant. She truly was the grand finale. My grand finale in my soul’s transformation. The finishing touch to my complete rebirth. Who I was. How I thought of myself. How I viewed the world. Again, completely 523106429612fb4c736d4662f06dfb4dreevaluating my priorities and my heart’s desires. She did this for me.  For her daddy. For her brothers. She gave me that one last shove that I needed to fully step into my being. All of me. All the scars. All the darkness. To love every piece of my journey. To free fall into vulnerability.

“Never again”, I said one more time, “Never again will I take my family for granted”, “Never again will I think I’ll be happy when…” “Never again, will I feel shame for who I am.”

I have a debilitating fear of judgment. My whole life I’ve carried this with me. I’ve never felt good enough for anyone or anything and because of that, I have developed excellent self sabotaging skills. And the real shitty thing about that is when I’d be feeling down, I would do something to perpetuate the darkness, to ensure I could justify feeling the way I did about myself.

Typically, when going through a hard time I would have completely shut down, and shut everyone out. I would have put on my “I can do it myself” mask, and carried on. Not this time though. Hope taught me that there’s more to me than this despicable person I’ve created in my head. It’s okay to drop my guard every once in a while. Let others in. Accept help. Fall apart; they will be there to catch me. Not everyone feels the same way about me that I did. I’ve never known love and compassion like this before. People I don’t even know have come forward to offer support in every way possible. I have only had to cook dinner two times since this happened! We have been showered with love and abundance. And that…that was a lesson I needed to learn.

I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry because honestly, this only scratches the surface of my dark parts. I have died a little every time life knocked me down, until ultimately the only thing left of who I used to be, was ashes. And from those ashes I rose like the phoenix.

Every. Time.

Completely reborn.

My daughter, Hope, has taught me this:

In every death, there is a birth.
In every birth, there is Hope.
And within Hope, we find courage and strength – we find our inner warrior.

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Be shameless. Be proud. Be brave. Be vulnerable. Love all, unconditionally. Never, ever, apologize for the battle God has asked you to endure. Give yourself the same grace you give to others. Forgive yourself. Nope. Wait. That’s not right. Don’t forgive yourself.  When you say, “I forgive you”, that implies the person did something wrong. If you were to ask God for forgiveness, I believe he would say, “For what?” Living the life, learning the lessons, growing our soul the way we were intended to…there is nothing to forgive!

Every one of us is only doing what has been asked of us. Some battles are harder than others. But everyone, without exception, is in a battle.

Keep your heart open. Hold your head high. Flaunt your scars. You…You are a warrior.

I know this won’t be my last heartbreak or my last spiritual awakening, and I know that no matter how hard I try I will still take things for granted. But I also know that I have the most amazing support system, I AM stronger than I ever knew, I AM lovable and loved, I AM worthy and I AM enough.

Thank you to my own personal earth angels who have been by my side 24/7.

Nicholas, Daunn, Tasha, Chelsea, Laura and Christine – You all love me unconditionally, you pull me out when I am drowning, you let me grieve, you let me hurt, and then you fill in all of my broken pieces with your love and light. There are no words to express my gratitude for you. All I know is that God knew what he was doing when he signed us up to be together in this lifetime. He knew I was going to need you.

Thank you to everyone in my community who offered support, even though you didn’t have to. Thank you for being part of my healing journey.

You can read part 2 of my story here and how I recovered from the trauma here.

 

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6 thoughts on “death.birth.Hope

  1. Clair says:

    You are a source, a force from God. A power of love and authenticity that has drilled its way to my core. You have occupied space in my being since the call from Tasha. All that has happened didn’t touch me til now. Prayers, questions, heart pounding , unexplained tears with your thoughts… From God He says “Peace. My peace be with you,”. Loving you and holding your family in my heart.

    Like

    • Kathleen Bell says:

      Oh Autumn…my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I sit here and I think and ponder…remember the basket I gave you years ago??? You gave me “Hope” and I gave you a basket that had a wooden lid with the word “Hope”written on top. Wow?! I am at a loss for words.
      God is good, all the time and all the time, God is good.
      ~Kathleen Bell

      Like

  2. Susan says:

    Lovely beautiful Autumn. Thank you for this amazing fucking story. You rock. You are much more perfect than you will ever understand to me. You are inspiration embodied.

    Like

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