This quote struck a nerve with me last night as I laid in the bath tub after a killer leg workout with my best friend, Brittni. I read these words over and over again and suddenly something changed. My mind was so clear and my body immediately felt such RELIEF. I had been trying to erase everything that has happened in the past 2 years: the birth of my daughter, the days taking care of her at CHOP, the long nights without her, kissing her little cheeks goodbye, all of the therapy sessions where I was constantly searching for ways to cope, the breakup between Bill and I, the grief we both share that will forever bond us, the short bursts of happiness that didn't last and tricked me into thinking I was finally starting to be happy, losing all of my baby/grief weight to only put some of it back on every time her birthday and anniversary come around, a recent relationship that knocked my socks off and then ended in such heartbreak, renting out my condo and moving home because hospital bills and paying a mortgage alone again after 8 years was detrimental to me financially, I JUST WANTED TO ERASE IT ALL!!!!
But last night it was crystal clear. All of those things do define me and have molded me in to who I am. I had been searching and searching for who this new Michelle would be but I wasn't acknowledging my past. I wasn't embracing it and accepting my reality. I was running from it and trying to create this whole new better life. Then when things wouldn't go my way in the process I would immediately be crushed because my plans of this new fabulous existence without hurt would then be filled with more loss and more hurt. Talk about setting unrealistic expectations. I was doing it all wrong. But if I didn't do it wrong I would have never learned how to do it right. There is no right way for EVERYONE. Everyone grieves differently but I hope this post reaches someone on the level that, that quote reached me. Words can be said a million times but until you process them in a way that fits your needs, you will never fully understand the true meaning of them. I finally understand what it means when someone says "your past molds you into the person you are today." It sounds so simple to understand but when your past is full of SO many losses you can't possible think that they should be the things that define you or make you better. Who wants to remember the back to back losses they've experienced in such a short period of time??? I don't... but guess what? I have to in order to LIVE in the NOW. IT IS WHO I AM and it is a part of my journey in this world. Starting now, I am no longer thinking that I am Michelle Thornton, the 32 yr old teacher/designer with a bright future and a blank past. I am now Michelle Thornton, a loving mother, an incredible athlete, a dedicated coach, a hard worker, an emotionally equipped individual who can deal with any situation coming her way, a proud woman who will always acknowledge her amazing daughter that has passed, 1st team All American field hockey player, a national champion, an academic All American, (I've been blind to my other accomplishments because of grief getting in the way) and most of all I have become the most amazing teacher through all of this. I have the opportunity to reach such a big audience because of my loss. People admire me for still waking up in the morning and putting a smile on my face. They want to learn more about me and who I am because I AM still standing and I've made it. My audience ranges from students, colleagues, friends, family and even strangers. I find myself educating people about grief, love, nutrition, fitness, life, home design, whatever. It's incredible to have so many people that love me and want to LISTEN. I am able to touch so many lives and I am blessed. I had lost sight of the fact that Micah gave me that special power. Thanks Micah Girl, you have saved me once again. Gosh...what a legacy I will leave one day all because of my daughter.
I will end this post with something my close friend Alyssa said to me the other day in a text. She said,
"Funny how the people you think YOU will take care of in life really end up taking care of you in many ways!" When I had Micah the thought had never crossed my mind that she would EVER take care of me buuuuuuuuut she does..... EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It breaks my heart and scares the crap out of me that I was in such a dark place and wanted to erase such a beautiful blessing in my life. But what matters now is that I recognize those feelings and I never want to feel them again. I am equipped and ready to deal with life. I am not wishing for an easy road anymore, I want every challenge to come my way so I can prove, to no one else but myself, that I can DO IT and do it in a way that best suits ME!
Life doesn't come with an eraser my friends so I will make sure from here on out that I write in permanent ink to ALWAYS REMEMBER where I came from.
I heart Micah