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  • Rashida Dinehart

The Grief that Broke Me, Built Me

Reposting from the original article on Healing, Hope, and Wholeness in May 2020.

I saw this post on Instagram from a fellow grief blogger and it really really hit me in my soul. It said, "The grief that broke me, built me".

Recently I watched an episode of This Is Us (last season, minimal spoilers ahead) where Randall asked Kevin if he ever wondered what his life would be like if their dad hadn’t died. Kevin answered no....which I honestly don’t believe. Randall said he does every single day. This obviously hit home for me. It has been 14 years since my mom passed away. I miss her every single day but I can’t say I wonder what my life would be like with her just as much.

You see, I’d accepted that the death of my mom caused my life to go in a completely different direction long ago. It happened almost instantly. One direction change that always stands out to me is where I went to college. Before my mom passed away I was set on going to Missouri State once known as Southwest Missouri State) since I was 4. My aunt went there and from the moment I set foot on campus for her graduation I told my mom that’s where I was going. Where did I actually go? MIZZOU to pursue journalism. That one choice changed the course of my life yet again. I met best friends whom I couldn’t imagine my life without now.

Fast forward to now and I’d be lying if I said I wish my life were any different. I once said I’d love it if my mom were here but in this exact life that I have. A character in this exact story of my life. But I know that wouldn’t be true. I may not have gone to Mizzou, met Ben, had Dom, or have P on the way. When I look into Dom’s blue eyes and kiss that perfect nose that he got from my mom, I’d be hard-pressed to want an alternative life. I am happy. I’d do all of the heartbreak all over again if I knew I’d get to this place. I can’t regret any decision or life event that resulted in Dom. Motherhood is a bit healing like that.

Another thing is that losing my mom made me who I am and I have done A LOT of work to love that person. She is strong. She is beautiful. She doesn’t take shit. She stands up for herself and what she believes in. She is gritty. She is scrappy. She can rise above anything. She is unbreakable because she’s been through the worst and here she still stands. She is me and I love every piece of her. Even the dark parts. It’s hard to imagine a different me now.

Life is made of so many many many little shifts in direction. And I’m not saying I don’t miss my mom, because I do! I’d give anything for her to meet her grandbabies. But I think at some point in the grief journey you begin to appreciate the time you had with someone more than you grieve the time you lost with them. I couldn’t tell you when that shift happens because grief is not linear. And though I like the way my life turned out so far, that doesn’t mean one memory of my mom doesn’t sometimes bring me to my knees in tears.

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