By: Erin Taylor
For many who know me, today is a bittersweet day, as it would be the 15th birthday of my precious daughter, Sydney. Those fifteen years seem like a lifetime ago and yet, I can still feel the weight of her little newborn body in my arms. I’ve been reflecting this morning on all that her short little life and death did for me on my journey in life and I gained some new clarity today in talking with some of my dear friends.
The lesson she taught me about myself is one that applies to each and every one of us. Allow me to explain.
My team and I have been creating a mini-series called Facing Our Fears that is available on our website and on our YouTube channel. I was explaining to my team how fear stayed by my side and terrorized me from the moment we found out about Sydney’s heart at my 20-week ultrasound, right up to and through her birth, life and death. Prior to her birth, my body was able to meet all of her needs 24/7 and keep her safe (with the exception of her deformed heart)and then extreme vulnerability set in when she was born and I knew that I could no longer keep her safe.
I recalled the moment I had to hand her tiny, lifeless little body over to the men from the funeral home who had come to take her away and what I felt, knowing I would never see her beautiful body again in this lifetime. In that one moment, I experienced every emotion a human being was capable of – as if a tornado of feelings had come to land with its tip right on my head. Surviving those moments when they took her to the van to place her body in that bag caused a visceral scourge of pain to surge through me that was nearly unbearable. As awful as those moments were (and trust me when I say they were the most awful moments of my life thus far) there was also a total and complete surrender that I experienced. There was NOTHING I could do right then and there. There was no amount of prayer, no bargaining (all part of the grief process), no community service, no money I could pay – nothing would bring my baby back to me. I was at emotional and spiritual and human rock bottom right there in my driveway as sobs bellowed out from the depths of my soul. There was nothing I could do other than totally and completely surrender.
What I found was on the other side of that deep agony was peace. It took time and an unbelievable amount of effort and commitment to work through my grief to get to that peace, but it was there waiting for me all the time. I learned through her life and death that life does not unfold according to how we think it should or how we think is best; there is a plan that is far greater at work than we could ever possibly imagine. Even though I desperately wanted my child to stay on this planet with me and to have the great fortune to mother her and for her to outlive me, that was not part of the larger plan at work. I believe Sydney had things to accomplish on this earth, hearts to touch and lessons to teach and that she was able to do all of what she was meant to do in just 24 days. The timeframe set out for her certainly did not match what I had envisioned or hoped in my mind, but I had to surrender to what was. When I was able to fully face that crushing, paralyzing fear of losing her, peace waited for me on the other side. A deep, Universal sort of peace that is not of this earth, but that is available and waiting for each of us to embrace. I believe that it doesn’t require us to go through what I went through to get to it; that each of our paths to get there is unique, but we are all invited to move into it. It is peace beyond all measure. When we harness the courage to face our fears, peace awaits on the other side. There may also be adventure, excitement and joy, but there is most definitely a Soul kind of peace waiting for us and welcoming us, if only we can face our fears.
The second thing that Sydney taught me is that I am special and I am strong beyond measure, but yet there is nothing special about me. Does that make any sense to you? Allow me to explain.
Going through such an intense ordeal in her death allowed me to access a super-human strength that is available to ALL OF US. I was given a situation that allowed me to access it, but everyone has it. You just have to find it. If there is anything from Sydney’s life and death that I want to convey to those of you who read this, it is this:
You are worthy,
You are valuable,
You are strong.
My life’s mission on this planet is to try to help each and every person I encounter to truly understand this about themselves, because it is true for each of us.
Let me ask you these questions, and please feel free to leave your answers in the comments:
If you knew – deeply knew that you are worthy, valuable and strong beyond measure, what would you change in your life?
What would you do moving forward?
How can you access that inner knowing today and what will you do with it?
Happy birthday, My Precious Sydney