By Jessica Meyers
July 4th. 12:01 AM. A simple shake of the head from a crying nurse was all it took for my world to come crashing down. I could feel it begin to change, my soul. It was dying, and I didn’t care. My Paisley fought for 120 days, all the needles and surgeries and suffering, just so death could grasp her little hands and guide her to a world that I didn’t exist in.
This is not how her story was supposed to end.
In the weeks following her passing I searched for every way to numb myself from the Lifetime movie that was now my reality. If Death wasn’t going to greet me as well, then I was going to make it hard for him to ignore me. I didn’t want to be me anymore, because I didn’t know how I was supposed to carry this weight for the rest of my life. It was too heavy, and I was slowly drowning.
Then one morning I woke up from the most beautiful dream. It was of Paisley, and she was happy. She was full of life. She was exquisite. It was the simplest of dreams, and it was all I needed to break free from the chains I was willingly wearing. I felt happiness for the first time, and I craved more of her. Quickly, I realized that only in my happiness was I able to find moments full of her, and she was everywhere. She was the autumn wind that hugged my body, the warmth of the summer sun on my skin, the smell of spring’s blossoming flowers, and she was the dance of winter’s northern lights. She was life, and it was beautiful.
Our bodies are ephemeral, but our spirits are forever. I was in love with her soul, and I knew if I wanted to make it through this life, I was going to have to figure out a way to love the new Paisley, the Paisley only my heart could see.
I am a part of her, and she is a part of me. I am her mother, and that’s something even death can’t take from me. She’s given me so many gifts, and as life continues, I’m still unwrapping them. How very alive she has become in death. A quote from The Little Prince struck me so deeply after she passed.
“It’ll look as if I’m suffering. It’ll look a little as if I’m dying. You’ll suffer. I’ll look as if I’m dead, and that won’t be true. You understand. It’s too far. I can’t take this body with me. It’s too heavy, but it’ll be like an old abandoned shell. There’s nothing sad about an old shell.”
It was as if she was speaking to me, telling me to find her beyond her physical form. I promised to never stop talking to her, because even though others can’t hear her reply, my heart can, and that’s all that matters. It’s what has drawn me closer to her. I try not to use the word ‘dead’ when speaking of Paisley, since I feel it’s not right for her. To be dead means one is spiritless, and Paisley is anything but spiritless. Learning to love her spirit form hasn’t been easy, especially since it’s hard for others to understand. It’s a sense that I feel we all possess but must be open to unlocking.
On the days when the shadows of sadness blanket me, Paisley reminds me that it’s okay to embrace its dark refuge. That some of the most beautiful things come to life while submerged in complete darkness, and as long as I surface from it, it’s going to be okay.
This road of life after child loss is long and isolating. There are parts of it that are beautiful and parts where the brush is so thick it seems impossible to keep going. I’ve come alive because I had to, because Paisley demanded it. Happiness doesn’t mean you are choosing to move on or forget, it means you are choosing life. It means you will no longer allow something negative to pull you under. It means remembering the time you were given, be it only months in the womb with your child or 120 days with your child. It means sharing their lives no matter how short with others. I remember being angry with God for taking Paisley from us. I let it consume me, until in happiness I was able to see it differently. I was able to see that the only thing that left was her body. Her spirit is with me every day.
God didn’t take her from me. He answered my prayers in a different way, a way that was hard to see at first. I lost her physical form, but I didn’t lose the part of her that matters the most. Her soul. She is my reason to live in the moment, my reason to love deeper and try harder. She’s my Hallelujah, my salvation, my amen, my thank you for this life, my light, my love, she is my Paisley Reese.
Jessica Meyers is a free-spirited, artsy mother of two, Jax who lives here and Paisley who lives in heaven. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband who serves in the U.S Army. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.