This time every year comes with deep feelings and reflection of “what could have been”. I fought writing this post. I want to write about happy things, share slime recipes with you, tell stories of our adventures in New England, and highlight amazing products for new babies.
But, something kept tugging on my heart to sit and share my thoughts on this topic of loss. One thing I’ve learned since I’ve started this blog is that this space is not my own. Often when I get “the feeling” to write about something a little uncomfortable or about a personal subject in my life that may cause me pain, I see an outpouring of support and love. Then, that overwhelming encouragement reaches numerous other women struggling with similar pain in a way I can’t really explain, and that makes every day I write about babies, adventures, and slime recipes all the more fulfilling.
So, if you don’t mind I’d like to pour my heart out to you here for a few minutes. I promise not to take a lot of your time and, don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll get back to sharing fun activities and such because I love those things too. But, right now I need to speak honestly and feely about why this time of year is difficult for me. Maybe you can relate? Have you experienced great loss?
This past 4th of July our first baby would have turned three.
I can hardly believe how fast time has gone since hearing the news we were expecting and today. The road to that amazing phone call from the doctor’s office was a long and bumpy one. You may have heard our story already, and know that after 5 long years of struggling with infertility, tests, needles, and procedures we were finally pregnant.
That pregnancy only lasted a bliss-filled 6 weeks, though. The days following our loss were dark and heavy. I struggled to figure out how to handle grief I had not yet ever faced.
Recently, I heard an analogy that in life there are dividing lines. Life before a life-altering event, and then life after. These lines drawn in the sand of our life, if you will, can be positive like meeting your spouse for the first time, graduating from college, or having your first baby, or they can be negative like a death, or a divorce, or a life-changing decision. You know what I mean, don’t you? Those moments where life will never quite be the same afterward as they were before.
I have had several lines drawn in my sand over the past 35 years, and the day I found out that my first baby was going to live in Heaven instead of in my arms was one of those days.
For weeks and months afterward, every Thursday was hard and laced with tears and near panic attacks because my smartphone would remind me that I could’ve been one week closer to meeting that little person. It was heartwrenching seeing others progress when I felt at a standstill, but I couldn’t bare to erase the apps from my phone. That would be a sure sign it was over.
Those days felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me, like I took a good hard punch to the gut. I felt lost and dead inside. The future I once saw was just…gone… an empty obis, minus hope and joy.
Days and weeks and months passed. I began to put one foot in front of the other by the grace of God. Life kept moving. Seasons came and went. I eventually found joy again. I found comfort in hope once more. We made new memories, experienced meaningful adventures, all the while honoring and remembering that little life.
If you are going through a similar loss, I want to encourage you that the pain does get better. It may never go away, but slowly its sting will lessen and lessen. You may be feeling as I did, that there are no happy days ahead. I hear you & I understand. I wish I could reach through this screen and give you a giant hug.
Eventually, after I’d spent some time processing what we’d just been through, I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to keep that baby’s memory alive because while it may not have been “real” to everyone around me, I was still very much a mom and that tiny little being was my child. At times, though, I felt so dramatic over my sadness. I would think, “other people go through this every day and they don’t seem as broken as I am” or “my grief isn’t or shouldn’t be as great as so-and-so, she lost a child she’d held and loved here on this earth”.
I’ll never forget the times that other dear mommy souls comforted me in their moments of grief. Little plain old me. Friends of our family lost their only child unexpectantly just a few short months after my miscarriage. This was one of those times I felt horrible for feeling sad for my loss when they’d lost so much. I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes, losing a child I’d raised for 18+ years.
But, that sweet mom in the midst of her unfathomable grief, told me she was praying for me. For me!? Then she said something to me that I will never forget, “we got to make memories with our daughter, but I can’t begin to grasp the loss of never getting to hold my child”.
Loss is experienced by all of us at some point in our lives, and for a mother to experience the loss of her child whether that child is as tiny as a pumpkin seed, or a toddler, a teenager, or an adult, it is still a great loss. I think we can all agree on that and hold each other up and support one another in our moments of grief.
If you are treading the dark days of grief, I stand with you, friend. No matter your circumstance or situation, I support you.
This week in the midst of our 4th of July festivities, I thought “you would be three”. I can hardly believe that we would have a walking, talking, hopefully, potty-trained little boy or girl running around our house right now. For a brief second, I let myself daydream about what that would be like. I pictured giggling and dancing amongst the fireflies on fourth of July night, eyes wide with amazement at bright fireworks, and cheeks stickied from ice cream cones.
I let myself rest in that moment of sadness and longing to be there…a mom, living my days with my child not grieving the loss of these memories and that life. Then I take a deep breath, forgive myself for whatever I’m still holding onto, and walk out in faith deciding to believe that everything will be alright. I will be ok. We will be ok.
“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Oh, dear friend, if I could give you some words of advice from someone who’s been there it would be these: the pain does get better, there is still joy to be found. Let yourself rest in your grief, experience it, acknowledge it, talk about it, share it with others. Heaven will seem closer than ever before. Then, learn to live your new life…this part of your life after the new line drawn in the sands of time. You will be changed, but let that change be for good and not for bad.
You will get through this one day at a time, one sunrise at a time.
And, to our little three your old in Heaven,
“Happy birthday! We haven’t forgotten about you. I see you in every ray of sunshine that peaks through the clouds, and in every hot pink summer sunset. I think about all the ways we would have loved on you and spoiled you. I’m sure you’d be running through Dinosauria at the zoo right about now with your daddy, and finally be old enough to catch candy at the parade & go for a swim at Uncle Mark’s. But, we know that you are surrounded by angels and beauty that we can’t even begin to imagine. You are safe and loved there as you are here. Thank you for being such a gift to us and for being our first little miracle. We can’t wait to meet you one day, but we have a bit more to do down here. Happy birthday in Heaven, sweet little one. We love you always!” ~Mommy & Daddy