Discovering joy after loss is a concept to many that can seem elusive and maybe even impossible. I know because I used to think it was too. I never knew what happiness really was or how to align myself with Divine guidance to carry out my purpose here in this life. All of that was foreign and uncomfortable territory.

Did I hold any faith? No I didn’t. I walked, day after day focusing on what I could change in my outer world in order to keep me in the denial where I felt safe.  I didn’t know what unconditional love was or how that fills my heart with joy. Not until the day I said goodbye to my stillborn son, Joseph, did my faith begin to return.  How is that possible?

Pardon my positivity on this one and bear with me as I walk you through my darkness. In the summer of 2000, at just 16 years old, I fell victim to a violent crime. I was raped and nearly killed by a man that I did not know. In one moment, a complete stranger changed my life forever. I came out of the hospital 48 hours later, so shocked, I didn’t know where to begin to understand what happened or even understand what I felt inside. What I did feel was anger.  He robbed me of my innocence and virginity. And worse, the hospital’s lack of care, respect and protection devastated me.

I had never been so scared in my entire life and to keep the debilitating panic attacks at bay, I put myself in complete denial. I trained my brain to shut off that whole event and carried on with my teenage years as if nothing had happened. So how did that all play out for me?  

Not…well…at…all.

When I graduated high school, I ran to college. I tried to get as far away as I could. Being in denial makes you feel as if you are constantly on the run. Constantly lost. Constantly afraid. Denial was like a huge, steel wall around my heart and my entire life. Underneath it, was all of my fear and pain. I was crying on the inside and my anxiety that plagued me once I left home for college got worse. It was like a demon that needed to be released from inside of me.

I continued this way for thirteen years. The rape became nonexistent in my mind, but not in my soul. My mind released the tornado of pain through nightmares, my body oozed it out with eczema and my heart was frozen. When I met my wonderful husband Jason in 2005, a flicker of light that was deep inside began to burn. Hope was beginning to take shape.

When we were surprised with our amazing daughter, Lillian in 2006, that light got a little stronger. Albeit young, motherhood transformed me. I loved my daughter more than anything but love for myself was a distant idea. I was yet to find out just how deep that transformation would be. Spirit was beginning to open within me after Lillian was born, like a rose flower blooming that would show its true beauty inside.

My husband and I waited until summer of 2013 to have our second baby. The excitement that we felt when we saw the positive pregnancy test was indescribable and at the 20-week ultrasound, I found out the baby was a BOY! I couldn’t WAIT to soak in the new baby smell and feel our heartbeat together as I held him against my chest. Despite all the good feelings about becoming a mother again, I seemed to hit a wall in my heart. I carried a sinking feeling that was stuck with me and didn’t realize that the denial still had a strong hold on me. When I faced those random feelings of dread that always popped up, I shrugged them off and became a master at humor. Making others laugh was the way to strengthen my denial, but it kept me in sadness.

You see, the denial, the tricks and the things I would lie to myself about, all came to a halt when at 26 weeks’ gestation, I was told my baby boy had passed away. My son was dead. Dead? For a woman who was already in deep denial, this news did not register with me at first. I walked out of the doctor’s office in a haze and when I checked into the hospital to birth him, I couldn’t quite feel my feet hitting the ground. Denial was having its last battle within me, desperately trying to keep me from opening my heart as if to protect me from the very love that would heal my tortured soul.

Finally, when the doctor began to induce me, the tears came. And they didn’t stop. Each tear washed away pieces of that steel wall and my heart was slowing beginning to beat stronger. Grief from my rape met grief from losing my son and that wall was finally shattered.

LOVE is the REASON we Grieve. And LOVE is what will bring us back.

– Lindsay Marie

Amidst a stillborn event, love was in the lead and that awakened me to a deeper part of myself I never knew existed. Finally, my heart broke open and freed my emotions that were hidden for so long. I couldn’t fight it any longer. The heartbreak of losing Joseph allowed love to enter and that love led me back to hope.

A wisdom that was buried in me emerged with a clearer understanding of life and death. It showed me a bigger picture of life and aligned me with my faith. I finally was able to process what had happened to me at 16 years old and began my journey to a new life. Joseph took a piece of my heart with him to heaven and has been sprinkling the love, through me, everywhere I go. He graces me with courage and love so that I can help others as a writer, speaker and coach.

I miss my sweet boy terribly, but his loss made me able to know a bigger part of myself that I neglected for thirteen years. And he helped me make a brave choice. I chose life and I chose joy!

You can connect with Lindsay through her website: http://lindsaymariegibson.com where you can read more of her story, her personal blog and learn about her journey as a joy coach. 

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