TWSC Series: Navigating Through Pain – Rosa’s Healing Journey

“The elephant does not limp when walking on thorns” – Ethiopian proverb.

Pain and death are a part of life; to reject them is to reject life itself. Experiencing loss can be devastating, but experiencing triple loss can be catastrophic. Everything seems to have fallen apart. Having experienced different versions of intense loss led to my grieving.

In 2008, I lost my father. Five years later, in 2013, I lost a pregnancy that turned out to be a molar pregnancy (an abnormal form of pregnancy in which a non-viable fertilized egg implants into the uterus). Then, tragically, five years later in 2018, I lost my unborn child at 20 weeks pregnancy and my uterus.

I remember the doctor’s words, “We had to do a hysterectomy to save your life.”

My ears began to buzz. Time stopped. I felt as if air was being sucked out of my body. Electricity darted up my spine and out my limbs. My heart felt as if it was frozen. My body went ice cold. I struggled to comprehend what was going on; a strange fog took hold of my mind. I was unable to process the most painful words I ever heard uttered.

Then the truth began to sink. It slowly seeped through to the edges of my mind. It ripped my soul apart and drilled a hole in my chest.

Have you ever heard the African proverb ‘better the water to spill than the pot to break?’ Now I was the pot that didn’t break, but it could not cook – a leaking pot, a woman without a womb. “No! Please, God, no,” I cried my eyes out.

No one is taught how to grieve. We can’t say there is “good” grieving. No one is equipped with the right knowledge or skills needed to manage loss when it happens. No one has a gauge to measure a specific timeline when one should heal. But there is a way one can get through the healing process. While savouring moments of strength and resilience, writing this will provide an avenue to connect to someone and give them hope and support them in the healing process and share the lessons learned along the way. Healing from grief takes time and it’s not an easy process.

Though we might find ways to distract us, we need to still honour the pain. Acknowledge your suffering to help in healing; you can’t run away from it. Learn what may trigger the grief. There is no prescription for the process of grieving, and it will not disappear at once. Something might whisper in your ears, “You are not strong enough to withstand the storm. Give up.” Put your feet on the ground and stand firm. Rain wets a leopard’s skin, but it does not wash out the spots.

When facing intense loss, you may feel isolated. It may feel like everyone is sailing through life without a care. You can find yourself stumbling and falling through the murky and muddy waters of loss or you can choose to run with perseverance. It is always helpful to remember that you are not alone. I feel much less pain when I hear and watch talk shows of people sharing about their life stories that are not as pleasant. This recognition that others experience suffering as I do keeps me going and understanding self-compassion that brings feelings of comfort and peace.

My motivation remains to become the woman God wants me to be: a woman who envisions creativity and productivity. It’s not an impossible dream. The level of happiness or misery in your life is always a reflection of how you view yourself and how much time and resources you put into your own happiness. Don’t go through pain; grow through pain. A smooth sail never made a skilled mariner. Pleasure would never drive us as hard as pain does. Great testimonies have been derived from great pain.

I will take a journey with you on how I have managed to navigate through pain using my pillars: faith, family and friends, and fitness.

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