July, similarly to March, is a month that stings, a month on a calendar that weighs heavy on my heart.
I often post about my children and the fact that I have two boys who, without a doubt, made me, saved me, and changed me into the person I am today.
But, my heart still weighs heavy when I think about a birthday that never happened.
July 2017 was when my family was supposed to be growing. July should have been a birthday month, a time for celebration, a month full of summer parties and wet bathing suits.
July still comes and goes, but the time for celebration screeched to a halt months prior when I found it was not the right time for my family to grow by ten fingers and ten toes.
Honestly, the entire 2017 year broke me. It knocked me down mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The year started with finding out that the child I thought I would be bringing into this world was no longer joining me on Earth and that a rare mutation not only took my child but also had tumors taking over my uterus.
The year ended with finding out that the man I joined on Earth would be leaving me too.
Everyone was leaving me.
I was leaving me.
I was lost and, for a long time, did not want to be found.
I would wait until the house was silent to cry for more nights than I could admit. I would wait until the world thought the smile on my face was real and then hurry home to hide the pain of trying to convince myself it was real.
I lost myself in 2017.
I lost the sparkle in my eye.
I lost the wistfulness that comes before the loss. I lost the future I envisioned as a little girl of her dad running around with her children.
I was lost for a long time.
As hard as it can be at times, sharing about the moments in my life that weigh heavy on my heart, the moments that sting year after year, the moments where I felt too broke to fix, it is these moments that made me who I am sitting here typing this out today.
I was lost; honestly, so many parts of that version of me are still lost in a locked storage unit in my heart that will never be opened again.
The version of me today, though, the parts of me that snuck away before being locked in the storage unit in my heart, those parts, they were full of strength, courage, and a voice that learned to fight.
The moments, months, and memories that sting will never go away. There will always be a sting.
But the sting reminds me why I fight.
The sting reminds me of my strength.
That I have a voice that can be used to fight.
It is the sting that reminds me that it is okay to be lost and not want to be found.
The sting reminds me that sometimes you need to be lost so your true strength can escape.
As you face moments in your life, your journey, as a part of your story that makes you lose the sparkle in your eye, I hope you remember that a brighter sparkle was ready to shine.
Each journey, story, and moment in life that makes us feel stuck in a bee hive will leave a long-lasting mark.
Each mark will have a different sting.
A different pain.
A different feeling as your heart drops to your stomach.
But, each mark, each sting, each different pain, and feeling is a piece of strength, courage, and fight that refuses to be locked away in the storage unit in your heart.
There will be moments that sting, but just like an actual bee sting, the pain goes as quickly as it comes, and the strength from that moment will last the rest of your life.
Next time you turn the page on your calendar, hear a song on the radio or receive a notification that a phone number is activated for someone else. Next time you feel like you are in the middle of a bee hive, remember how much worse life would be without those bees, remind yourself that without the bees, the world would not survive.
Without you, the world would not survive. The pain of a sting will last a moment, but the outcome of strength will last forever.