Using my imagination to heal
From the moment my daughter was diagnosed with terminal cancer and subsequently died, a series of questions would frequently arise within my mind - why? why Hannah? why did she get sick? why did she have to die? why couldn’t it have been me instead? - and as you might guess, a suitable answer never presented itself.
I was struggling with these nagging questions during a session with my wonderful friend and crisis counselor, Eva, and she reminded me once more that she didn’t know why and that most likely I never would know why, either. Didn’t I realize that this line of questioning was a waste of energy? I think I bit my tongue at that comment. She then suggested I make up my very own fantasy by creating my own story about the purpose behind Hannah’s life and death, one perhaps that would give me hope.
Eva then told me how she used this exact technique when her dog had died and how the story she created had been beautiful and had meant so much to her family. To be honest, I was a little pissed at first. It seemed irreverent. Hannah was my precious daughter and the truth was extremely personal, incredibly painful, and REAL.
Later that day, though, the word fantasy popped back into my head and I rolled it over in my mind a few times. I thought back to my childhood and how I doubt I would have survived the long hours of school without a heavy dose of daydreaming, or fantasizing. Even as an adult I had dreamed of writing fiction books, concocting wild and imaginative stories in my head. If I could only get them on paper! As I thought about what Eva said it began to make sense, so I decided to give it a shot.
I let myself daydream again, and it went something like this:
Once upon a time there was a blue-eyed beauty with a heart the size of the universe. She would fill the hearts of all that knew her with light and goodness. It was obviously a lucky thing to be able to know her - and I was her mother! The luckiest of them all! I was given the special honor of birthing this incredible beam of light and watch her grow and expand and touch others. I merged with her, our souls separate and yet one, forever…
I watched this fantasy play out in my head, and guess what? It felt good. So I continued on with it, massaging when and wherever it felt right and good to do so. It evolves, as do I on my healing journey, my journey of life. Of course Hannah died young, and I expect there will always be a remnant of pain, but through fantasizing, and by being willing to see beyond the veil of pain, I truly am able to see hints of clarity and deeper purpose in Hannah’s life, and even in her illness and death.
Techniques such as this and other tools have helped lift me out of the past and stay away from those questions that none of us can ever answer. They have helped me stay connected with Hannah, with her spirit, and to honor her. We can use our imaginations and desires to move forward in life, and I can open my mind and see my beautiful blue-eyed Hannah as the light that she was and is, to me and to others. I wonder where my imagination will take me today…