A beautiful story from Kristina Risinger about
renewing hope after great loss.
"Grief has the power to seize breath and create feelings of suffocation. However, once breath is restored, grief has the propensity for fostering amazing growth and purpose."
Breathing is the most effortless action we will ever take, yet in some moments we find ourselves gasping for breath. This breath is a necessity of life. In times irrelative to physical ailment we find ourselves in a moment that stands still lacking the required action to keep living. In these moments we know that we are defeated.
That breath was taken from me in a moment of magnifying awareness.
As I walked up the stairs my legs were so heavy; there was barely any strength to continue. The night had been very long as I held my youngest child in my arms... she was so very cold. That distinct measure I remember so vividly, so shockingly; as it resonated with my core. Everything had been set in place, yet moments felt so surreal. I was suspended in a gaping black hole of stillness as everything passed me by.
Everything awaited my baby girl in its pristine and equipped position poised for her return, but it would continue to lay in wait for all time... she would not come home.
My heart was shattered, my mind stunned.
Our youngest daughter, Isabella, had come into this world carrying a heavy weight.
She was diagnosed in utero at 12 weeks with a condition that many medical experts consider incompatible with life. This condition is known as Trisomy 18 or Edwards syndrome.
As with most that face this devastating news, we were offered alternative solutions. Pleas were offered for consideration of her survival, our other children, and even our own quality of life. For my husband and I there was no decision to be made. We believed that God had sent her for a reason and that we were going to fight for her until fighting was no longer an option.
While Isabella endured several surgeries, a five and a half month NICU stay during her life, and passed away just prior to her first birthday; I would consider her anything but incompatible with life. She shocked medical professionals as she proved that she was indeed a fighter. Moreover, we were able to enjoy her at home during the second half of her life.
We believed that God had sent her for a reason and that we were going to fight for her until fighting was no longer an option.
Our daughter was only given such a short time here on earth, however; she left me with more love than I could have imagined existed. Losing her, has felt like a piece of me was stolen. It will never return, yet her purpose and legacy are ultimately so powerful.
Almost three years later, I have been placed in a position to help others through these breathtakingly painful moments. At some point in all our lives the dreaded experience of loss will leave its nasty imprint on our minds, likewise; affecting our bodies and souls. Grief is heartbreak, confusion, brokenness, anger, guilt, loneliness, and deep sorrow.
Initially, and without warning, grief has the power to seize breath and create feelings of suffocation. However, once breath is restored, grief has the propensity for fostering amazing growth and purpose.
It is the sitting in grief and moving through grief that shapes character. As our minds, bodies, and souls process the act of what has happened, our thoughts and feelings related to that act, and our new perspective on life that naturally follows; we begin to resonate with our new normal to our core. We dig out of the valley to become not a fraction of what we once were, but a magnification of who we are to become.
A journey through grief heeds no dismissal of choice. The challenge is embarked upon and will inevitably direct the path from that moment forward.
Surviving a loved one is not for the faint of heart. Lives come to a screeching halt as they were known before, and the waters of this world must be navigated from a new perspective. When an act of such magnitude happens upon us, a choice must be made to stand still or to move forward.
When we allow God to breathe life into us and embrace the gift of love; it is in these moments we are capable of clinging to hope. As I become more aware of my service to others, I am lifted up in my own healing.
Yes, there are many moments that bring me to my knees. In these moments I tell God that I simply miss her, and I say, “Breathe-Breath of God- Please Breathe!”
Meet Kristina Risinger ...
My name is Kristina Risinger. I am a daughter of God, wife, mother, coach, author, speaker, and photographer. I am a woman who desires to be guided by the Lord to fulfill my purpose in life.
After losing my daughter, I struggled with figuring out how to put the pieces back together. I continue to renew my hope and have discovered my purpose; as I now desire to support others through their grief journey after great loss.
I am called to help people through the grieving process by placing their faith in God, and regaining identity and purpose for their lives.
- Support To Renew Your Hope After Losing Your Loved One... 1:1 and group coaching to help people begin to renew hope and discover purpose after great loss while honoring their loved one.
- Read Kristina's Book... "Life After Losing A Loved One: How To Turn Grief Into Hope Strength And Purpose" can be found here: https://justbreathe-mama.com/life-after-losing-a-loved-one/
- Visit Kristina's website: https://kristinarisinger.com/
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You are so strong and admirable for being able to take something that was so tragic and life-altering to help others through your beautiful blog!
This was so touching and inspirational. Thank God for his peace.
Thank you for your kind words and support Viano! Be blessed!
So love the choosing of God’s love as your message for the world. Gratitude for a moment of life is harder than the remembrance of a long life. I am your sister in God
I love that you’ve been able to take something that was so tragic and life-altering like losing a child and use it as a way to help others through this beautiful blog! Your articles look so uplifting, and I think its so great others can learn from your journey!
Thank you Kayla! I really appreciate your sweet comment and support.
A poignant piece. Grief does knock you out for a bit but the working through it, as you say, moulds and shapes your character. You learn to grow in new directions and this is due to your experience with the loss of a loved one.
Yes, when you make a choice to continue living your life beyond the grief, you can find a way to honor those you love. Thank you for reading!
Wow, what an incredible story. I’m happy for you that you got to see beauty in the short time you had with her.
Thank you so much Heather! I was not able to see this at first. Grief is such a difficult journey to navigate, however; when we are able to receive the piece that extends beyond our human understanding, we can embrace the love and appreciate beauty in our circumstance.
Your story is so powerful. Today, Thanksgiving day, I have just gotten home from what will possibly be the last mass I attend with my mother at our parish church. She will be entering a memory care facility shortly. I feel like I will grieve for her twice, once for the loss of her memory, and again later when God takes her home. I believe that finding your story at this very moment was no accident. It is God giving me hope through you. It is another gift to be thankful for this Thanksgiving day. God bless you for the way to are helping other people.
Thank you for sharing about your mother Ellen. I am so happy to hear that my story is helping you find hope. Anticipatory grief is something many people go through and can begin the grief journey. Make sure to continue making as many special memories as you are able. Sending love and prayers.
This was such a raw but truthful look into a world that others can only imagine to empathize with, you are so brave and strong to share this journey. If not just to help others but to help parts of yourself. Sending your family much love.
Thank you Jen! Yes, through my faith and by sharing our story, I too find peace.
I’m torn. Standard protocol encourages me to say that I’m sorry for your loss, but that is the not the takeaway that I felt. It is clear how much you loved your daughter, but also abundantly clear that her unfortunately brief time on earth was well lived and life changing to those who had the pleasure to know her. I do want to congratulate you on continuing her legacy by helping others. Blessings upon your family.
Kimberlie … you say this so well. I felt the same way.
Kimberlie, thank you for your compassion. I love and miss my daughter everyday, but am thankful beyond measure that we were chosen to care for her while she was here. You never know what your heart is capable of until you are given circumstances beyond imagination and expectation.
This was so deeply touching,very emotional but so beautiful to read!The pain that we feel when we lose someone dear and specially a child it’s almost unbearable.What you do is truly amazing!
Thank you Elena! The pain can seem unbearable at times, but we can receive the peace that extends beyond all human understanding. This peace and strength allows us to choose to live even when those we love are no longer with us.