Rebirth and Growing Pains

September 27, 2018

By Sanda Rathamone



"When you acknowledge and accept your pain as simply growth, you release any struggle and give permission for the journey." - Ginny Gane

On my commute to school, I saw a car with a license plate number: 6RIP165 (the numbers of Elijah's birthday, which follows me everywhere).

The moment I realized what I had just encountered, my head jerked backwards, my brows furrowed, and my mind was struggling with astonishment and disbelief. 

How? How did the heck did this car (err, person driving the car) know to when show up on this exact day at this exact spot, so that I would read the license plate at this exact time?

Does this person know that his/her license plate says "RIP?" Unless, he/she had done this on purpose, which I doubt. 

Or, did Elijah somehow set this up as a message? 

Although, this is not the first time that crazy, cool encounters have happened since Elijah died. I have seen and felt Elijah's numerous ways of how he "communicates" with me.

Still, each time that a yellow swallowtail flutters by, a crow swoops overhead, then lands on a rooftop or a landline, loudly cawing to get my attention, a baby who feels like Elijah appearing in my dream, or seeing Elijah's birthday on the clock, I am always caught by surprise and feel a residue of love and magic.


Sadly, I didn't feel that way when I read, "R-I-P." I hate hearing people say, "Arr-eye-pee." I really do. It sounds like "I-gotta-pee" and something about it bothers me. Whether it is "Rest in Peace" or "Rest in Paradise," I friggin' hate it. To me, it's short and ugly, somewhat aloof and insensitive, and does not do any justice to remember or respect the dead.

Maybe it's just me, but it blows my mind to put those words next to Elijah's name. It makes it sound as though Elijah was never at peace inside of my womb, as though life on earth is terrible (especially if he had the chance to live this life with me), and that he is better off being peaceful and rested, while dead.

I would rather hear someone say, "I am sorry for your loss" than "Rest in Peace." 

I don't know why, but after seeing those three letters, I felt a stir of loneliness and emptiness deep inside of my belly. I felt a kiss of goodbye. I felt cold. I felt "off." I felt as though Elijah had left me alone. After Elijah died, I felt him everywhere. I just knew that he was close, if not, fully there with me. Walking with me. Helping me. Holding me. Protecting me.

He was everywhere I was, while at the same time, somewhere else. The only thing that separated us was this very thin veil.

In some strange and sad way, I feel like Elijah was saying goodbye. I don't know if I am ready for goodbye.

On my way to school, I went for a walk before starting class and tried looking and feeling for him everywhere. The only thing I heard was a hummingbird. Months after he died, hummingbirds would often visit me. I later began to recognize the buzzing and squeaking sound of a hummingbird's wings and knew that the bird was one of his "spirit animals."

I did the same thing on my way home after school and nothing changed. I looked and felt for him, but he was gone. I felt this intense need to grieve. I was freaking out, trying not to cry. The whole day at school, I didn't and couldn't feel him.

I started to tear up and whisper a whole conversation with Elijah about babies, life, and if he will ever come back. Ironically, a pregnant woman is crossing the street with another woman right before my eyes. Will I ever be her?

Every time I see a pregnant woman, I imagine her body with my head and hands. I imagine myself looking down at my belly, smiling that lovingly mother smile, and holding the bottom of my belly. I have imagined this so many times that my real hands will actually go traveling down to the bottom of my empty belly, as if this is a natural reflex, an instinct.

I just want my baby, I hear myself say.

Today, I am 9 days late and do not know if I am pregnant or just on a very long cycle or skipping the blood bath this time. Last Sunday, the test showed negative. It was just like I thought and I wasn't disappointed, well... maybe a little, but it wasn't to where it was unbearable. I expected to see a negative. This Sunday, I don't know if I have the courage to take another one (if I make it that far). I really don't want to.

I am waiting for a sign. So far, I do not feel or notice any premenstrual or early pregnancy symptoms. I feel like I am in limbo and don't know what to expect. Every morning, I wake up with a knot in my stomach, hoping not to feel any cramps or leakage, yet, ready to deal with it and get it over with. I might as well become best friends with disappointment.

I don't know what is going to happen or not going to happen, nor do I really want to know, but at the same time, I want to know so that I can prepare myself for whatever happens. I just want to get on with my life and don't want to worry about this anymore.

Give me a sign of anything, GOD! I hear myself yell.

I didn't hear anything from Elijah, but I hope that he had heard me. I told him how grateful I was for leading me to where I am today.

Today feels similar to a little more than two years ago, before Elijah died. I realized that I am somewhat back to where I started when I was pregnant with Elijah. I was unable to pursue what I thought would be my career after graduating college. I was at the point of sacrificing what I wanted to do and instead, become what I have always wanted to be: a mother. Then, I became a grieving mother, didn't know what I wanted to do or who I was anymore.

Years ago, I worked at this thrift store.

This one day, a palm reader came by and told me something that I would never forget. She told me that I should consider pursuing a health or medical profession. I never took her advice seriously, nor did I think about her and her suggestion, until years later. At that time, going back to school just wasn't my plan or on my mind.

Over the years, I became personally interested in discovering my own unique world with spirituality, which led me to learning more about mind, body, and spiritual health. What stopped me from enrolling into nursing programs and health fields was spending more time in school. I was so over being a broke student and wanted to finish school before I was 30. I now hope to have my first child before I'm 30... 

It is strange to look back and realize that Elijah had somehow "reset" my life.

Today, I am training to become a professional in the field of massage therapy and holistic health. Every day at school, I learn something new and feel grateful to be there. Every day, I feel closer to living my dream and more aligned with what is "right." I feel more and more confident in my choices, less afraid of failure, and excited about seeing my potential bloom into something big and beautiful.

Somehow, I feel like Elijah's death was a second chance... to get things right. I just wish that it didn't feel this painful to start over.

The more that I move forward, the less I hear Elijah's voice. The less I feel his warmth. The less I feel his presence. It scares me to do it alone and it's painful to realize that my decisions are now coming from my own voice, instead of Elijah's.

In some weird way, I feel like Elijah has been weening me. From his grip, from my grip. He helped me relearn how to walk on my own and how to listen to my own voice.

Each day that painfully passes without Elijah, I grow a little more. I was being reborn and it took a lot of growing pains to get to where I am today. But I'm growing and I'm going.

From tears, I wept a lake and painfully and beautifully grew flowers. Flowers that without a doubt, grew from the very bottom of the mud, where it was dark and I was holding on for dear life, not knowing that I was actually planted and growing upwards and outwards to bloom above the water and under the sun.

pc: wallls
With love,

Must Read:
Read the full story about Elijah:
Elijah's Story: From Gender Reveal To A Spontaneous Delivery

Photo: maxpixel

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