I had my first therapy session last Thursday. It went really well. I even cried. Something I swore I would not do on the first day of therapy. But, I guess when you have an amazing therapist, you can feel comfortable enough to really let it all out.
I feel really lucky to have found someone right off the bat who has worked with trauma a lot. I never really thought of my life as being overly traumatic, but I guess when you break it down the last eight years have been a rollercoaster at best.
I am starting to realize just how much the death of Emma is impacting all of us in my home. As I was talking with my therapist, I started to wonder if maybe, sub-consciously, her death is the reason that Seth is so angry. Maybe he feels that he is living in her shadow. It was something I never wanted to happen. I never wanted my children to feel that they were less than their older sister. I just wanted them to know about her.
However....she fills a very large space in our family. I swore when she died I would never have a shrine to her. When you walk into my house though, there is a curio cabinet filled with Emma and pictures on the wall of her. I have always justified having more pictures of her up than the other kids because the other kids are here. But I wonder now what that is doing to them even if they don't realize it?
One of my homework assignments for therapy this week is to think about how to change the space that Emma takes in our family. To make room for the other five of us. To make it equal. In the first few years there was no way I could have done this. But now, now that it's been 6 1/2 years, I think I can. I am starting to be able to let go of physical things that were hers. Or, to let the girls wear her bracelets and when they ask whose they are NOT say Emma's. I just tell them that they are theirs.
Creating this new space, this new way of our family's thinking is not going to be easy, and may be painful. But it needs to be done. She is a part of our family now and always. But she is not the most important member of our family, we are all equally important. She is not the only person whose memory is important, the people who are here right now have just as much right to have their memories preserved as she does.
I love Emma so much. But I also love Seth, Amelia, and Libby. She is not my only child. I know that she wouldn't want me to put her up on a pedestal or glorify her. She was a baby and therefore she was so sweet and innocent. Had she had the chance to grow up, I am sure she would have been a stinker, gotten in trouble, caused me tears and grief (not that she hasn't already), and given me the same struggles that the other kids have given me.
So, here I go. I am trying to figure this out. How to make this family of mine work. How to heal and mend this broken family.
This journey of grief is never ending it seems. It just evolves and changes and hopefully I can evolve and change with it.