Finding Love In Loss
Guest post by Lindsay Higgins:
Love. Everything I see, read or hear keeps bringing me to this message. Perhaps because I am looking for it. It may seem like an obvious notion in our personal lives, and the most obvious missing link when we look at social media and the news.
I started following a path of spirituality after my daughter Natalie passed away at 3 1/2months of age from a genetic condition called HHT in 2013. There were issues within a couple hours of her being born, despite a normal healthy pregnancy. From Stratford Special Care Nursery to London to Toronto. It took almost 2 1/2 months to correctly diagnose her, and an additional month of treatment at Sick Kids in Toronto before she showed us it was time to let her go.
It was my sister in law that researched on our behalf and brought us a study describing identically to what my daughter was presenting with. Very rare, but after 2 ½ months of no real idea what we were dealing with, this was the first time I felt the clouds part.
However, at that time the doctors were not open to the possibility of that diagnosis, no matter how accurate the information we brought to them was. Instead we attended a family meeting where they informed us that they had done all they could do for her and then they transferred us into a private room. Our nurse cried so much as she told us about a photographer she would contact to arrange to take pictures to capture Natalie’s final moments. We arranged a baptism that same day and I wrote on Natalie's white board a plea to God:
God, I thank you for giving your people direction, and telling them what to do when they don't know what to do. Lord, I thank you for always showing up right on time, even when it seems as if there is no more time.
In Jesus mighty name.
This was the first time I distinctly knew God had answered one of my prayers.
That same day we had Natalie baptized and the hospital chaplain read this very prayer out loud surrounded by her family. Surrounded by love.
While we were gathering together, a genetic specialist, Dr. Victoria Siu, did all she could do to find an answer for us, for Natalie. She literally collapsed in a chair beside us at the end of the day and said “Yes, I believe she has HHT and needs to be transferred to Toronto if she has any chance at treatment.”
God couldn't let me keep her but he blessed me still. He blessed me with an incredible month of finally holding my baby after she was diagnosed and receiving treatment. I was blessed with answers, seeing her swelling reduce enough for her to open her eyes, and this one day I will never forget, she smiled. In that moment I felt pure love. I am lucky enough to have felt that and will be forever blessed by that.
I suddenly found myself going from being ambiguous about religion to searching so I could learn more of just where my baby girl went, who she was with and how I could connect with her. I started to read a lot of books about heaven, angels, near death experiences and God. They all had a lot in common. They had one message. Love.
A couple of days after Natalie passed away I went to see a well-known medium in our area. The conversation that unfolded during the next hour and half with the medium changed my life (as if it wasn't changed already). She told the story precisely of the complex nature of my daughter’s illness, recited words from a letter I wrote her, and described the necklace I placed around her neck after she was gone. She then described to me Natalie’s purpose in this life. She said Natalie understood that her purpose was to help other babies with whom doctors may struggle to diagnose (HHT is very complicated and can present differently in everyone and in different areas of the body so it is not uncommon for doctors to misdiagnose).
I really can't say for sure what life would have become for me after Natalie’s' passing if I hadn't received so much closure from that experience with the medium. I am aware that people have different interpretations of mediums. However, this experience for me only brought to me more love and more understanding. It has helped me grow and continues to teach me the importance of choosing love every day.
I could have taken the route of bitterness, at our doctor's inability to diagnose my daughter quickly. I could even take this opportunity to give you a detailed list of all the ways life has seemingly done me wrong. But I made a decision within a few days of Natalie's passing that her life had brought me more good than I could ever have hoped for and more love than I had ever known.
If I were to provide you an honest list, then I’d also have to include all the ways life did me right. It brought our families together, it showed me love from friends and in some cases barely acquaintances, it provided my relationship with my husband strength and support. Her time here taught the doctors, not just one doctor but almost every department, what HHT in an infant could like as they had all previously tried to diagnosis her.
You see, I now understand there is always good. There is always love. If not in the way life presents to you then in the way you present to life.
I absolutely need reminding on a daily basis to choose love instead of frustration and to give instead of wondering what am I going to get. Sometimes just a reminder to be kind, to smile at people, to listen to people, to see the good in people's actions is all I need to get back to where I know I am my best.
The message I keep seeing in my life is loud and clear. The answer is always love. We were born in love, we were meant to live in love, and most of all we are here to love each other. It really is the emotion that puts us on the path of least resistance. All that energy and negative thinking or speaking when in turmoil with someone is exhausting and really doesn't serve us in the least.
When we choose love above everything else, the only thing that blooms is beauty, abundance, faith, connection, restoration, patience, joy and happiness. Even if I still need help remembering this every day, (like EVERYDAY!) I believe it is the key to experiencing life to the fullest, whatever your circumstances and I feel it is the key to changing your circumstances.
So, if you can do even one thing that would positively influence your formula for life...give love, be love, show as many people as you can love and watch all the ways life will love you back.