Joy | Grief | Action | Change

I’ve made 5 drafts since my last post. I keep writing them, going back and fixing them but, the storyline doesn’t connect. I hope today’s does.

On Friday, April 29th, I was driving in my car listening to my compilation of songs. It typically plays the same songs over and over again, regardless of how many times I shuffle. I haven’t changed my playlist, Aria and I shared one. I can’t delete her songs. As I was driving, a song I haven’t heard in years popped on the shuffle. It was ” Testify To Love” by Winona Judd. I absolutely love this song, it’s one of my all time favorites. It’s the only song of hers I know, and only because it was on the “Touched by an Angel” Soundtrack. I went on a missions trip the summer before 10th grade to Mexico. We were not allowed to listen to any music other than Christian music. So, all I had was my dad’s copy of this Soundtrack and the NSYNC Christmas album. It was a long bus ride.

I was filled with happy memories of the time in July of 2018 that I sang that song for a family friends wedding. Aria taped it. The video won’t load but, below is a short snippet from that day.

We drove to Marshall, MN for the weekend. She was my date for the wedding. She didn’t know anyone other than the Bride. She was a trooper. Then we left after dinner to go back to the hotel and swim. She swam for almost 2 hours. We ordered Pizza Hut and stayed up late. She woke up early to swim for 30 minutes before we left. My little fish.

It was our last trip with just her and I.

On Saturday April 30th, I saw on Instagram that Naomi Judd ( Winona’s mother) died to the “disease of mental illness.” I knew exactly what it meant. There are only a couple way’s that can go.

I knew in my heart…….

On May 1st, the next day, The Judd’s were inducted into the Country Hall of Fame.

Winona said in her induction speech of,

” My hearts broken and I feel so blessed, and its a very strange dynamic to be this broken and this blessed.”

I’ve had a hard time describing the feelings that I feel on a day to day basis, sometimes minute by minute. She nailed it. Somedays, I am more sad and others overwhelmed with gratitude that I got to be her mom. Of course I wish things were different but, I wouldn’t trade my time or my daughter for anyone. I am still so proud of her.

I feel like I have forever veil of sadness over my face. I have become far more reserved. I am not the outgoing confident woman that I used to be. I may laugh and have a great time but, after the moments over, you can see the pain in my eyes. It’s like a realization ” Oh yea, that was fun but, Buggy’s still not here.” Then my demeanor will change.

I started working in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy( DBT) after Aria died. DBT is all about the idea of multiple truths. My truth’s are, I am absolutely heartbroken and I am so blessed she is my daughter.

I am continuously blessed by her spirit, still. She was born for a reason. This kid is an angel. She lived 13 years and 321 days (proof below) and died on the 322 day. Her life and death will change and save lives.

Counting my blessings since her passing is tough but there are many.

Nick is a Godsend. There is no way anybody else I dated, long-term or briefly, that could have supported me the way he does. It’s not a dig on Rico or Aaron. They both needed their own emotional support and I sure as hell couldn’t give it to them. I needed someone who knew her but was semi- uninvolved. We only had been dating for a couple months before she passed. Being a Veteran, he knew how to remain calm in traumatic situations. I know Aria put him in my life for a reason. I am so blessed.

A month after Aria’s passing, I found out I have a biological sibling. The timing was crazy. We both found out about each other at the same time. 30+ years of not knowing, we found out individually( different sources), over the same weekend. It was 2 days after Aria’s birthday, Saturday March 23rd. Getting to know them and their family gave me a sense of hope again. Something to look forward to. My heart breaks that they never met Bug and Bug never got to meet them. I know Aria put them in my life at the time I needed them most. I am so blessed.

With Do You Care Now, I have a mission that I am extremely passionate about. I learned to write which has been extremely cathartic. To be honest, in a strange way, I don’t feel like I write this blog. I feel like something else does. It’s just my job to convey the message. I hope it helps kids, parents, teachers, and mental health professionals. It’s been a huge blessing in my life.

It’s been incredible working with and for Shout Out Loud. Also, making forever friends and partners to fight this horrific epidemic with. Wait until you hear about what we have in store this year, OCTOBER 1st, 2022. DON’T MISS IT. Such a blessing.

I’m working in Higher Ed, which is something I’ve wanted to do since my Grad School internship. Such a blessing.

I am actively and tangibly working in Police reform. It’s something Aria and I talked a lot about. We want to be apart of change. She would be proud. Such a blessing.

Being grateful for your blessings after such a traumatic loss like losing a child, feels odd and uncomfortable. But, I can’t help but feel grateful and loved. I will continue to Testify to Love.

I will forever live in the “strange dynamic of being this heartbroken and this blessed.”

Below is the video of “Testify to Love.” I haven’t seen it in a while and of course the video is based around a child passing, watch it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Comments (2)

  • Joan Dizon . June 2, 2022 . Reply

    Thank you for giving me the strength to go on and cherish what I have! I have been struggling to understand happiness after Aaron died. All the guilt. I. Am working to achieve a different happiness! ❤️

    • (Author) bjsenser . June 6, 2022 . Reply

      Me too!! It’s a day to day battle. Sending you so much love.

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