Moving Forward


There’s a difference between “moving on” and “moving forward.”

To move on means to go on to a different place, subject, activity, etc. 

“Let’s put that issue aside and move on.”


To move forward means to go toward a place, point, or time.  It means to look ahead.  To move into a new direction from where you have been facing or traveling.  To make progress.


I have come to realize that when you lose a child, it is impossible to move on, but it is not impossible to move forward.


I have struggled with this idea of movement over the past two years since losing our daughter.  I’ve thought that if life moves on, then I must be moving on, too.  I’ve thought that if I had a good day, a day where I smiled or didn’t cry, then I was over my loss.  I’ve thought that if I experienced an area of healing, then I couldn’t have a hard day or allow myself to feel that gut wrenching ache again or enter into that space of intense grief…even if just momentarily.  Did moving on mean I was “over it?” 


I’ve looked for a checkmark list on how to handle grief.  But there are no “how to’s” when it comes to grieving, and there isn’t a time-line either.  My grief is my own.  And, although painful,  it is invaluable, sacred, and necessary for my healing. 


Looking back from two years ago, I recognize a tremendous growth within me.  This growth, I am confident, is the result of an outpouring of grace from the Holy Spirit, and the Father’s relentless love and pursuit of my heart.  It has not been easy, though.  Sometimes I want to wish it all away, pretending it never happened.  I’ve wanted to pretend I’ve never faced such a darkness.  Wishing I never knew such an ache.


Then I realize, how selfish.  Losing my daughter has changed me…forever.  I may not be worse.  I may not be better.  But I am different.  And that “different” can be used to make a difference, if I allow it.  She is not forgotten.


I have not moved on.  I have moved forward.


Taking some time to process the circumstances of life and reality, I spent some time looking at pictures of our stillborn daughter.  I needed to remember that she lived.  SHE LIVED.  Life is so busy and hectic and at times, all consuming, that sometimes she feels like a part of my imagination.  Yes, I attempt to honor her memory practically every day, but sometimes it’s not tangible.  I pulled out her knit cap from her memory box, and as I placed it on my cheek, I felt that physical nearness again.  I remembered the embrace.  I remembered her presence.  And in that moment, the love consumed the sorrow, and my exhaustion began to ease.  The sadness didn’t destroy me.  I felt the intensity of love and pain and loss intertwine, and I honored it.  Then, I put it aside.


I recovered.  I breathed in peacefully.  I released fear.  I held onto the promise.  And I realized…I’m moving forward.  I’m moving forward to hope.  To life everlasting.  To where her story, her life, and this new road will take me. 


I can never move on.  NEVER.  Her little life changed mine forever.  And although the loss is a brutal sting, I’m so thankful I carried her, and that her love carries me onward, ahead, forward, and into a new direction where hope remains.

Emma JamesComment