I’m trying to let go of this guilt that I carry, to let go of this heaviness in my chest that tells me, You failed your babies and that’s why they died. But letting go of it means also accepting that there was nothing I could do—and that means acknowledging how powerless I really am.
I have never felt so out of control of my life as I did when I lost Calvin, and when I lost Rainbow, and when I lost Gaelen. I think holding onto this guilt is, at least in part, my way of maintaining a sense of control, of hanging onto some belief that I have a say in whether my children will live or die. It’s hard to give that up.
At face value, it seems obvious enough that we can’t control everything, doesn’t it? I’m pretty sure you can walk up to any mentally stable adult, ask Do you accept that you can’t control everything? and be 100% confident in the response being Yes.
It’s easy when it’s presented that way, when the consequences aren’t so clear, when you aren’t thinking about how this lack of power can throw your world into disarray and turmoil.
When it starts to pose a threat, though, it becomes a much harder concept to accept.
It’s so much more difficult for me to say:
- I accept that I cannot control everything that happens to me.
- I accept that I cannot control everything that happens to my loved ones.
- I accept that I cannot control everything that happens to my children.
- I accept that I cannot control everything that will determine whether my child lives or dies.
Just the act of writing those sentences, especially the last one, makes my heart pound faster. And thinking about saying them aloud makes my head hurt. But I do know, cognitively, the truth in my inability to control whether Calvin, Rainbow, and Gaelen lived. As their mother, however, I feel like I should have been able to save them. And I didn’t.
How about you?
Have you encountered this tension between letting go of guilt and accepting your powerlessness? Have you accepted your lack of control? Are you able to say all of the I accept… sentences above? Were any of them more difficult for you?