“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby.” ~author unknown
I am a shadow of my former self. Those who know me but don't know about my seven little spirits don't know me at all. Those few who do know and never explore are closer to seeing the real me...I believe they want to, they just don't know how and aren't trying to learn. Those even fewer who do know and include my babies in our friendship are the ones who truly see me.
A shadow of my Self.
It's as if I'm moving through life not as one woman, but multiple women. There's the woman who goes to work every day and does what that requires. There's the woman who mothers her son, trying constantly to balance his needs with her anxiety. There's the woman who is a wife to her steadfast husband who is showing connections to their lost children in new ways. There's the woman who wants to talk about her children and how they have impacted her life, created who she is, brought her to today...but is silenced by a society that isn't interested....discouraged by people who are uncomfortable with death and the myriad of feelings that walk alongside it...worn out by a life that squeezes every drop of energy from her.
Most people only see the me that I present to the world. They see the tree standing solidly next to the pond. What they don't see is the tree's reflection in the pond. The reflection that is a distorted image of the real me, that is harder to make out, that has ragged edges, that moves with the light, that requires you to stop for a moment and question what you are really seeing.
The world has more texture and variance now. It is a complex layer of experiences and feelings, beliefs and desires. The layers beneath what we show the world are always there, even when we tell ourselves they are not. Sometimes they shout out loud while we try to suppress them. Sometimes they peek through us as we allow them to. Our sorrow for our babies who are not with us in the flesh are with us in stronger ways. They are a part of the images we see when we open our eyes in the morning. They are a part of the food we eat to give us strength to take a step. They are the breath we take, when we remember to breathe. They are the compassion we feel towards a stranger in pain. They are the sun, peeking through the clouds to warm us when we most need it.
In the warmth of the sun.
I will never be the woman I was before I had my children. I will never have the life that I dreamed of, with the number of children I thought I would have, living where I thought I would live, having the career I thought I would have. While the woman I am today is a self I wasn't prepared for, I love her and her life. I value her and what to share her with the world. I have to bring my full self to my life. I have to bring my children to the surface so others can know them, can know me.
I have to integrate my shadow with the rest of me so I can live as one spirit.
A spirit of the child I was, the mother of dead children I became, the mother of a living child I cherish, the wife of a husband I adore, the friend of beautiful women I heart-fully connect with...one complex, layered, present, soulful spirit.