If you’re reading this, thanks already.
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My husband and I took our time to heal: although I am unsure whether time truly heals all wounds or if it just allows them to be felt differently.
Tsunamis and Earthquakes hit hard: but it’s during their aftermath that the clean-up crew is needed, where the supports rush in, where the financial burden strikes, where the aftershock settles. The aftermath of this tsunami was no different. This natural disaster didn’t quickly reconcile, it lingered. It still does.
The aftermath of disasters is also when my eyes were able to open fully to the silver lining that shines when you go through hard shit.
People I never knew stepped up for my family, Starbucks gift cards from Instagram friends were in my email inbox, support came from across the province for our blood drive, anonymous donations were left on our families GO FUND me page, flowers filled my mothers home, lasagna’s stacked our refrigerators, a lane of Perfectfit4u clients snuggled closely together at my Dads funeral. I shared more hugs, more tears and yet more gratitude than I ever dreamed imaginable.
If you were one of those people, please know that these acts of kindness never went unnoticed. I will forever be a better person because of the generosity and concern I was given that month of November 2019.
My Step Dad’s funeral happen to land on the day following his 50th birthday: the most cut-throat way of celebrating this life milestone if you ask me. My mother, husband, siblings and I had the opportunity to gather with him (and his body) the evening of his birthday in a private room set up by Martin Brothers Funeral home. We told him stories, we held hands, we shared the eulogy my 17 and 19 year old siblings (and my older sister and I) so bravely wrote following his passing.
That evening we also got tattoos: my mothers first tattoo in 53 years, my baby brothers first as well. We ate cake, we cried, we bonded, and we each now have a copy of Stu’s final ECG engrained on our forearm. A tattoo that serves as a reminder of the toughest month of our lives, and the toughest man we all knew and loved.
The opportunity to share this tragedy with my siblings continued to secure for me how deeply I desired to have a family of my own. My mom needed us. We needed my mom. And most importantly, we so deeply needed each other.
My no-hesitation-without-a-doubt-be-there-in-second friendship I developed with my baby brother and sisters in light of the death of my step-dad is a gift he granted us all. A gift of no-strings-attached love. A gift of built-in best friends.
Christmas 2019 was not easy. To soften the emptiness, our family committed ourselves to creating new traditions. We Pin-trested new games, we never opened gifts at moms house, we stayed up late on Christmas Eve and held one another as I handed out a scrap book of our Dad that I generated during our time at Foothills (this scrapbook was meant to be given to HIM when he awoke from his coma, it was meant to show him all he went through and what our family did to stay occupied for weeks in that hospital and hotel room, it was meant to showcase all the support he received from the community): and although he never awoke to receive this gift- I know for certain he knows all the finite details just fine.
My mom had also found a gift my step-dad purchased for me as a “this reminds me of Ash” stocking stuffer in August 2019: 2 months prior to his passing. This $1.99 CASSETTE tape of my favourite song as an infant will forever be my most favourite gift.
It was during this time my husband and I decided we needed our space to do some grieving of our own, just the two of us. We needed to talk about our lives, our disappointments, our broken hearts. We never had the time nor the emotion to truly discuss the hurt we both felt following the loss of baby #2: and although I had believed that my grief for my Dad and hurt for my family had supplied me with the tools to “move forward”- I discovered the pain was still there- more dull than sharp- but definitely still there.
I couldn’t look at a newborn baby without hysterical tears, I couldn’t follow pregnant influencers online, I couldn’t genuinely congratulate others on their birth announcements without hyperventilating sniffles. I obviously was far from moving forward.
I was told that following a miscarriage you only needed to have 1 regular period before you could begin trying again. 1 regular period meant four weeks following a loss and your BODY was ready to conceive: unfortunately for me, my heart needed a little longer.
With our Asian-Vacation travel bursary awaiting our use: we made the responsible decision to still not venture into a Zika-ridden zone. Health Canada recommended a minimum 6 month wait following a Zika-travel trip before attempting to conceive- a wait neither of us was willing to accept. Also, leaving our health and fitness business in the busiest month of the year was not an option. So, 10 days in a luxury Maui bungalow was the answer.
I often reflect on the fact that this trip wouldn’t of been refunded had we never been pregnant. And NO: I am in NO WAY saying a miscarriage is worth getting my $12K refund- but realistically, there was no way in hell we would have been jetting off to Asia for a month the first week of December given the circumstances with my Step Dad. Had we never placed the pregnancy health-insurance claim the last week of October: we would have lost our trip, sure, but we would have also lost a large amount of our savings. In hindsight, I started to see how the Universe had my back on that one.
Had I been pregnant, I don’t know how the stress of November would have affected my baby. I don’t know how the month from hell would have distracted me from enjoying the happiness of growing a human. I don’t know if my body and my baby could have handled the brutality of the trauma I saw in that hospital. The world was saying “this needs to wait, there is hard times coming” and instead I was able to give the fullness of my heart and attention to my family during that time.
I have chosen to look at that miscarriage as the world protecting me and my baby, and no longer it compounding my hurt. A realization that has only come with immense amounts of self talk and personal growth.
So, we left to Maui and we didn’t spare a penny. Another lesson death taught me. Thrive through your experiences, don’t hold back.
We rented the fanciest of corvette cars, one Stu would be proud of. We held hands longer, watched sunsets, splurged on the best cuisine, whale watched and took the long way around the island without phone service and basked in each other’s love and company. I’ve always loved and appreciated my husband- but after watching my mom lose hers: my gratitude and “whatever you want, babe” behaviour was on another level.
While in Maui, we also skydived, one of the most exhilarating and yet spiritual experiences of my life (you can read about this in one of my favourite blogs: I Jumped Out of a F*ckin’ Plane: Here’s Why): something I’ve always had the nudge to do, but never bit the bullet to actually do until recent events showed me how quickly life can change.
While boarding the plane mid-February to return home to Canada, Rob and I specifically recall a viral video on Instagram of a hospital in China claiming there was an outbreak of a global pandemic. As we sat in the Maui airport we both shrugged off the mask-wearing and over-sanitizing that those around us seemed to be partaking in. Like I JUST said, you never know how quickly life can change.
When returning home from Maui, I received a text message from my mom informing my siblings and I that she had a “surprise”: a mediumship reading from a sought after spiritual clairvoyant that my mother had attempted to book since Christmas. The lady had received my mothers address, and nothing else: and would arrive at her home on the 6th of March to speak with us all. I was skeptical to say the least.
I awoke the following Friday and told Robbie, as I rolled my eyes while simultaneously shoving my legs into my lulu lemon pants,
“this lady better blow my f*cking socks off”
but I kept any further skepticism to myself and gathered at my moms place in support of my fam. Just the 5 of us once again.
Within 10 seconds of interacting with this woman, she MORE than blew my fucking socks off to say the least. Without sharing the personal details of her interaction with the other members of my family- I can faithfully tell you this shit was no joke for us all. I was awe shrunk by the personalization and finite details that were shared with our family in the first 20 minutes of this discussion. We were all in tears, jaw dropped and yet so interpersonally spiritually connected to our Dad.
And then, as if to solidify the experience even more for me: the woman looked in my direction.
“so” she prefaced the ball-drop that was coming,
“I don’t know what your belief system is, but for me, the soul comes to Earth at conception, not at birth”
I sat a little puzzled,
“There are two small souls in the room right now”
I held my breath as I knew what was coming next,
“Has anyone here had a miscarriage?”
“Well actually, two?” she continued.
My family all gasped as I took ownership for the statement.
“Yeah, that’s me” I began, as tears streamed down my already mascara ridden face.
“Well, your Dads with those babies” she confirmed my hope for me.
“And I am unsure if you’d like me to personalize these babies for you?” she questioned
“Yes, please” I responded
“Your first child, she was a girl, the second he was a boy” she went on,
And before more questions could surface, she continued,
“And actually” she spoke confidently and more loudly now as her eyes gazed in East to West at a more-than-normal pace,
“I don’t know if you’re married or trying or if you want to discuss this in front of your family: but I feel like I need to tell you” she continued with the catalyst statement,
“Your Dad, he is sending a baby to you again very soon” and yes, she accentuated the very.
The tears went wild around the room once again as my hands clasped tightly over my star-struck mouth.
The closure I felt in the moment, was indescribable. From a skeptic to a firm believer my heart melted over that statement. I gushed with energetic hope.
This woman didn’t know my name.
This woman didn’t know my story.
This woman didn’t know much of anything about me.
She knew my mothers home address. That was all.
And yet somehow, this woman gave me hope.
And within 8 weeks following this exact conversation, my husband and I conceived for the third time.
If you’re interested to hear all about the happiness that surfaced, how we found out we were expecting and our journey through Baby Gundy’s first trimester, leave your email & subscribe to the blog to be notified when Part IV is released.