The Dragonfly is my Spirit Animal

When I was a little girl, my mom told me that when a dragonfly lands on us it is always one of our deceased loved ones or spirit guides checking in and letting us know they’re around and watching over us. I grew up obsessed with dragonflies—always wondering who was stopping in to say hello when one perched delicately on my hand or shoulder. It wasn’t until I was regularly swarmed by dragonflies after my mom’s death that her story and my obsession really started to wake me up. After a few years of dragonflies following me around and landing on me all the time, I finally figured out that my energy changes with their visits.

After my daughter Cora died, a little blue beauty landed on my leg and hung out for hours through periods of ugly sobbing and total numbness. Lightly perched on my knee, it would look at me, turning its head from side to side like a dog who is trying to figure out what its human is saying. When my sobs shook me too hard, it would flutter up and land on a different part of my body, always looking at me, turning its head. It even rode around on my dog Juno for a little while. On some level, I knew that the moment was significant and that I should pay attention, but I was too exhausted from grief to acknowledge it. Months later, when some of the haze of grief cleared, I remembered the little blue dragonfly and finally recognized it as the first sign Cora had sent me to let me know she was still with me.

Now, nearly nine years after losing Cora (and 20 years after losing my mom), I always recognize the significance of dragonflies. I giggle when they only land on me and follow me, even though there are other people around. I recognize that my vibe jumps instantly when I even see a dragonfly flit by, let alone when one lands on me.

Yesterday while I was outside in the yard, attempting to finish up the ties on our new chain link fence and cursing the pain and lack of strength in my fingers and wrists, I had a quick visit. It’s very early in the season, but a small red dragonfly flew by my face and landed briefly on my gloved hand. The shift was instantaneous. The pain in my joints lessened, my frustration with my body’s limitations right now eased, and I felt sunshine fill my darkest places again.

Believe what you will, but I am 159.6% convinced that dragonflies are my spirit animal…bug…spirit bug? LOL

Because of Cora…More on infant loss and grieving through the pain and happiness.

Infant loss. Baby girl Cora Jane LeFlufy. June 2, 2010.
June 2, 2018.
Infant loss. Baby girl Cora Jane LeFlufy. June 2, 2010.
Today would be Cora’s 8th birthday. Eight years ago today, she lit up our souls with her unexpected arrival. Eight years ago tomorrow, she plunged us into the abyss of grief and darkness with her untimely departure.
Eight years-some of them in a blink and some of them with the endless, painful ticking seconds on a clock composed of grief and despair.
Every year, these two days come and go and I power through a gauntlet of emotions-sadness, anger, loneliness, wonder, awe, gratitude-
but the journey always takes me to the same place: peace.
All that we went through-before, during, and after Cora-was a gift. Yes, you read that right. A gift.
It seems strange to think of it that way, but death (especially the death of a child) has this uncanny ability to trigger growth of our self-awareness and understanding. Grief shows us who we really are-good, bad, ugly-and, if we’re lucky enough (like I was) it shows us how to accept all aspects of ourselves and how to make changes that make us feel better about ourselves and our life’s purpose.
Because of Cora, I now understand all my shit and I know how to deal with myself.
Because of Cora, I no longer waste time on shit that doesn’t matter to me nor do I languish over anything that makes my heart hurt or causes me to question my feelings. If it makes me feel sucky, I feel through it and move the fuck on.
Because of her, I give less fucks. If something doesn’t directly affect my life or cause injustice for someone or something I believe in, I simply don’t give a fuck about it. Don’t take this the wrong way, I still give fucks, just about the things that matter most to me. I don’t care what people think/say/do about me unless it physically hurts me. I don’t care what people think/say/do about you unless it physically hurts you. But I still care about all the animals…they are one fuck I will always give. 🙂
Because of Cora, I’m both more compassionate and less tolerant (more about this in my next blog).
Because of Cora I don’t beat myself up over my mistakes and I’m faster to forgive myself and others.
Because of Cora, I’ve tapped into the power and presence of Source energy-where I can feel her and my other babies and my mom and so many others.
Because of Cora, I’m a much better human than I ever was without her (even though I am much less kind to whiners and complainers than I used to be).
How can a gal not feel grateful for that kind of gift? She was worth every second of the 30 hours we had with her.
Happy 8th Birthday, Cora Jane. 🤸🏼‍♂️👼🏼🤸🏼‍♂️

June 3, 2018

unplugging a baby from life support

Up to this point, it has been too painful to look at this pic, let alone share it.

It seems fairly boring unless you know that this is a pic of Cora’s BC Children’s caregivers unplugging her from life support. Now that I’ve told you that, it has a lot more impact, yes?

It was the first and last time I held her and she died in my arms almost immediately after they stopped her machines.
They wanted me to hold her for awhile while the machines were keeping her body alive, but I couldn’t bear it. I couldn’t handle one more second of knowing she was already gone while machines kept her blood pumping and heart beating.

I brought her into the world and I was determined to hold her when she left it again.
After all, it was the least I could do for her after allowing people to poke and prod her for 24 hours.

Born healthy and thriving only one day before and braindead 30 hours later.

It’s hard to wrap my brain around, even eight years later.  Even knowing the sequence of events and the tragic mistakes that led to it, and regardless of how happy I am in my life right now, it still hurts if I think about it.

This pic is a painful reminder that love is a gift and we never know how long we have with our loved ones. It’s a reminder to love harder, laugh larger, give less fucks about the small annoyances and what others think of you (as I may have already mentioned a few times above…). None of that crap matters. Remind yourself regularly how blessed you are to have your fave people in your life (even when they annoy you so much you sometimes want to hit them upside the head with a plastic shovel…). As surreal as it sounds, they could be gone in a blink.

8 years ago today. RIP Cora Jane.

Surviving Infant Loss: You gotta feel it to heal it!

Call it a combo of smoke constantly blocking out the sun, writer’s block, and social media sadness overload (or maybe it should be called Social Media Sickness – SMS)…Whatever it is, here I am, feeling like a bag of shit in the middle of my fave time of year and carrying that heavy cloak of grief on my shoulders again. Of course, it’s all for a really good reason.

Let me explain.

When I say “writer’s block” what I actually mean is this:

Trying to write a book about the death of our daughter (in hopes that I can send it out into the world that other grieving parents may find it, read it, relate to it, and understand that there is light in the darkness and still hope for happiness) is really brutal on the heartstrings045_DSC_0067-123-Edit.

I’ve spent the last seven weeks reliving every horrific moment of Cora’s life and death and even though I thought the darkest aspects of my grief were gone forever, I’m realizing they are always there, lurking below the layers of seven years of life that have grown over them. I may have buried them, but now I’m the Indiana Jones of Memory, just digging that shit up and bringing it back to the surface to cause chaos and wreak havoc on my heart and my life again.

Suddenly I’m feeling everything deeply, crying all the time, and I have no energy to be social or put myself out there into the world. It’s exactly how it was when Cora first died and I was exhausted, angry at the world, and intolerant of bullshit…Oh! Wait. I’ve always been intolerant of bullshit. Ha!

After I came back from the other side, I truly thought that all my grief was gone. I felt so alive and so full of love and understanding for the world. I felt as though I would never again feel sad or angry or ever let the state of the world drag me down. Of course, anyone who has ever died and come back understands that human emotions and thoughts eventually return and immerse us in the day-to-day ups and downs of life again. We can’t escape our human experience -we are not meant to- but I am still genuinely surprised that I can feel grief this strongly again after seven years.

I saw a post on IG the other day and bells went off in my brain. Life is a spiral where we continually come back to the things we think we’ve conquered and understood so we can see the deeper truths in them. This is how spiritual growth happens. This is how we build up our strength and resilience – often through expanding our willingness to be vulnerable.

So I get it.

I get it that it fucking SUCKS to believe I’ve conquered a massive mountain only to find myself standing at the mid-way point again, staring up into the unknown above me with the weight of grief pressing me down, making it tough to keep climbing. I get that I will probably always be feeling it in one way or another until I, once again, head back to the other side.

I also get that I can’t just quit writing about her because it’s painful. I can’t just give up on this gut-driven, fierce compulsion to share our story in hopes that our pain will resonate with others and help them through their own. I get that it’s worth it and that I wouldn’t be compelled to do it if I weren’t meant to. I am and I will, even if it tears the scars open again.

When this happens to us, we can’t just shut it out. You gotta feel it to heal it, even when it pops up at inconvenient times or in my fave season when I should be full of light and mischief and beer!

So I’m rolling with it -feeling the feels, as they say – and balancing it out with exercise, friends, tears, beers, and belly laughs.

Hopefully, when this book is done and I’ve once again run the gamut of emotion and heartache, I will be able to sit back and feel the love and light of the incredibly positive impact Cora had on me and so many others in her short time with us.

Cheers.