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Life after Danielle

rhondathompson, [email protected]

Life after Danielle

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Most of us figure there is divine order to life – we are born, grow up, get married or not, have children, adults die, and children are left to carry on the circle of life. Or so it’s supposed to happen – except when it doesn’t.
For Sophia Haynes, her world turned out of order last year when her 16-year-old daughter Danielle died due to complications from lupus. Now a year later, Sophia has yet to find closure and carry on.
“It’s definitely lonelier this year,” Sophia revealed. “It’s been trying because I now have to learn to take care of me and not someone else.   I now have to start at something different and go from there.”
Taking care of Danielle had become second nature to Sophia. Up until last year she had gone through every stage of parenting with her, even surviving the 11-plus and the often difficult adolescent phase. She had even formed a plan of action after learning her daughter was diagnosed with lupus, a disease that took her mother, and one that she herself lives with but has managed to keep at bay.
“Initially when my daughter fell ill, we thought it was anaemia, because from what I had read, lupus tends to skip a generation,” Sophia said.
“She had never exhibited any of the symptoms, but we said at 18 we would let her do all the tests. Then she was diagnosed with lupus last April but then it started to touch her kidneys.
“She went back into hospital in July because they wanted to keep her and she never came home.”
With her daughter gone, Sophia now is faced with the difficult task of carrying on, and she admits it has not been an easy road to travel.
“It’s been hard because now you have to deal with you,” she said, smiling.
“That becomes a problem sometimes because you don’t know how to take care of just yourself.”
Coming to this point of rebuilding has not been easy for Sophia; after her daughter’s death and funeral, she admitted getting close to that abyss and wanting to go over because of the despair.
 “There was anger first. I was angry at God and I did question a lot but I got past that point,” she said.
“Then came the questions ‘what did I do to deserve this’ – and I thought that people I felt would really understand, never do, unless they’ve been through it. But thank God for counselling.
“But I don’t think I’ve really dealt with it totally. I’ve pushed it onto another level and I recognize that I had to get back up and not stay down.”
Work for Sophia became a balm that eased her pain and the memories for a few hours.
“I decided that whatever I’m going to do, let me do it to the best of my ability,” she said.
“Work became my other master, but I try not to let it take over.”
In terms of hobbies and exercise, she doesn’t really indulge but gardening has now become another escape.
“When you’re pulling weeds and throwing stones it can be very therapeutic,” Sophia says, laughing.
“You put a face behind the stone and say gotcha. I’m supposed to garden for an hour but I find myself doing three to four hours, but I feel good afterwards.”
Sophia credits therapy for helping her get to this stage. Losing her daughter was like losing part of herself because they were very close.
“I believe she was tired and she gave up,” Sophia said.
“I think she gave up; I probably would have if it were me.”
There were moments when she herself wanted to give up.
“I had to go to therapy. I thought about [ending it] very often [but] I didn’t try it,” she revealed.
“If you’re thinking it three out of four days then you’re in trouble. But I wanted to go with her.”
Sophia said that her faith has definitely been tested during this period to the point where she has only been back to church once.
“I’m trying to roll with the punches but I get impatient and want to move on ahead of them,” Sophia said, laughing.
“I just hope that during this year a lot of the things I couldn’t do that first year – like go back to church, deal with some of the other emotional aspects of it where all the good memories don’t make me feel sad – that’s the part I’m working at.
“My aim right now is to see how best I can get back to me.”