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Miscarriage

grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

Last night, I dreamt about a baby. A tiny, baby boy who perched his little bobbling head atop my shoulder right in that perfect cradle made just for babies between my collar bone and my ear. Then his tiny head would wobble and bob and little lips would fall on my flesh like kisses from heaven.

I woke up this morning feeling happy with my visitation from the sweet baby boy in my dreams. Then, I realized that it’s November 24th and it wasn’t just any baby, it was our baby. The one who should be turning 4-years-old today. Instead of celebrating together, I’ll be choking down tears and turkey while he (that pregnancy just felt completely different than either pregnancy with my girls so I assume it was a boy), my sweet Declan Wayne (that would have been his name…in my heart it already was) will be missing from our table and our lives.

It’s been 4 years and I still can’t feel the loss any less. Only now, it seems my sadness is turning to bitterness and anger. It took 4 years but all I keep asking God is why? Why did you take my baby? Why must I survive this?

There are so many unwanted pregnancies and babies, so many children born into families where they are mistreated and unloved and all we wanted to do was love our baby. All I wanted to do was hold him in my arms, even just once. It wouldn’t have been enough but it would have given me closure. Instead, I live my life like an open wound that never closes; vulnerable to all of existence. I need some kind of closure, some tangible marking that you were here, so I am writing you this letter.

Dear Declan,

I wish you were here. More than anything in this world, I wish that I could hold you in my arms and feel your little heart beat against mine. I wish I could see your sisters love on you and fawn over you like big sisters do. I wish I could see the pride in your dad’s eyes when you two connected over something boys do. I wish there was a little Big Guy in the world.

I wish you were here to have booboos kissed and tears wiped. I wish you were here to smile lovingly at your sisters when they had a long day at ballet or a hard day at school. I wish you were here to make us smile and giggle as only little boys can do. I wish you were here for me to see grow up.

I wish you were here to love because you see each time I got pregnant, I fell deep in love and my heart grew to accommodate that enormous love. Only now, who am I supposed to give all that extra love to? You made me better before you were ever here.

I won’t talk about the day I lost you or how my entire world crashed down on me. I won’t talk about how all I wanted to do was be with you, to stay with you forever because if I do, I’ll start to cry. I’ll never forget you, my sweet boy, and you will always be in my heart. That’s where I carry you. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it once more and every single day for the rest of my life, I wish you were here.

Forever yours, Mommy

I know it’s Thanksgiving and I am thankful for all that I have but it’s also what should have been the 4th birthday of the baby that I’ll never get to hold. So while I am thankful for all that I have, including those few short precious months of pregnancy with my third baby, I am still sad beyond belief that I will never get to celebrate his life with cake and ice cream surrounded by family and friends.

I will never see him play soccer or go to prom, get married and have children of his own and every November 24th, I will be just a little melancholy around the edges knowing that one child is missing from our table and from our life. I don’t think that sad emptiness ever goes away and to tell the truth, I’m not sure that I want it to because it is the one reminder that I have that he was ever here.

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no air, loss, monsignor

No Air

by Deborah Cruz

Sometimes I forget that I live in a world full of triggers. Sometimes I forget just how terrible reality can be. How sad and empty the world is without certain people and then something happens and it’s like life shakes me hard to remind me just how fragile life is. I think this is what keeps me human and humble.

Nothing like a swift reminder that there are no guarantees. People die. People leave. Life hurts and that is the reality. Even when someone seems like they have it all, devastation can be waiting right around the corner. That’s the real reason you should never envy anyone because you never really know what they are going through. The worst part is that life is so random and we have absolutely no control of it, not really.

I guess I’m feeling a little discombobulated lately thanks to to recent losses. Last week we lost someone close to our family and now, he’s just gone. Not here. Someplace else. No longer here for guidance. What once was a crucial thread in the tapestry of our life has become completely unraveled and been removed. He’s gone and we just have to learn to live in that new reality. It’s shocking because it was so unexpected but then we began to digest it, as we do, and navigate life in our new reality minus one.

Then last night, I found out that someone who was a huge part of my childhood died. It’s silly, really. He’s a celebrity. We’ve never met but I felt a connection to my dad through him and his music. He’s from the same part of Mexico as my dad. He was a year younger than my dad. I grew up listening to him in the background of my life’s soundtrack. I passed his music along to my children as a part of my own father’s legacy. He’s always been there and now, he’s not.

This sent me down a rabbit hole of sadness. My dad is in Mexico right now. I haven’t seen him in 8 months. Juan Gabriel has always reminded me of time with my dad. This reminded me of my dad’s younger brother, my favorite uncle, Narciso. He’s dead. He was murdered when I was 16. Which reminded me of my great uncle, Ramon, he died when I was 13. He was like a Grandpa to me. I was his favorite. This made me think of the baby I lost and how different my life would look if these people were alive. Now, I’m in a hole seeing nothing but darkness asking myself, how am I even breathing in this world with no air?

You know, each time someone I love dies I try to convince myself that they are in a better place. I tell myself that they are together and one day I will see them again. That’s how I get through it. I tell myself. I convince myself that they are better off, even if my heart is breaking into pieces. But what if they aren’t? What if when we die, that’s it?

I hope not. I hate to think that death is the end for the people I loved so dearly; good people who did good in the world, if nothing else than love me; care in a world that so often doesn’t.

I thought I was okay. Then I dropped the girls off at school this morning and saw the reader board. There it was, our Monsignor’s name followed by the time for visitation, vigil and tomorrow’s funeral time. Then a wave of sadness hit me with the realization that I will never see his smile again. My children are going to say goodbye at a private visitation this morning with their classes. I hate that I can’t be there to hold their hand for this. I hate that they have to say goodbye to someone they love at such a young age.

Tomorrow we say our final goodbye. This morning, I’m feeling fragile thinking of all the loss realizing that when you love fully, you live surrounded by triggers and reminders of what could have been and what was. In moments like these, it’s hard not to go down the rabbit hole and feel sorry for yourself but that’s not what they, these dearly departed of ours, would want. It’s not what I’d want. So, in a couple minutes, I’m going to wipe away these tears and live in this moment because even though sometimes it feels like there is no air…there is. We live surrounded by it.

So now, I inhale and I exhale and I repeat until it feels natural again. I keep living and enjoying my life as fully as possible because those people I’ve lost would accept no less. And the cold hard truth is that we only have one life and it’s really short. We have to make it count. Life is a full contact sport and none of us survive in the end.

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There are people who come into our lives and make it better, people who make you want to smile. They might not do anything in particularly special but to you those simple actions; a kind word, a crooked smile or a hand and heart of support make them everything to you. These people matter and when they are gone, the space is empty and the emptiness left in their spot is felt. I’ve known this emptiness: when I lost my uncle Narciso, when I lost my uncle Ramon and when I lost my third pregnancy.

Yesterday, our beloved Monsignor suddenly passed away in his sleep. He had the flu and then, he was gone. We’re all in shock. We’re all in mourning. We don’t understand and it’s hard to accept, as it always is.

You see, he was more than just the leader of our parish, he was like everyone’s favorite Grandfather. He was a genuinely kind man with a smile that put you at ease and made you feel like everything was going to be okay. His voice was comforting and he carried himself in a way that was confident yet humble. He was all of this and more but the thing that I adored about this man the most was the way he loved the children. It was a genuine adoration and fully reciprocated by every single child who attended our school in the past 30 years.

My girls go to Catholic school. I was raised in the Catholic church. Priests have always been a part of my life, my family’s life but never on this level. Growing up, our father was someone who we saw on Sundays. Growing up, the Father of our church was on one level and we were on another. It was not a human relationship, it was more of leader and worshipers. Nothing like our relationship with Monsignor.

My children saw Monsignor almost daily. He was the living, breathing heart of the school. All the students were his children. He’d been at the parish and the school for 30 years, so even the parents were like his children. Most have known them since they were small children and attended the school.

He had a special way of talking to children and adults alike that made them feel special and important. When he did the children’s mass, he always got down on their level and talked to them like they were people. He always listened to what they had to say. He never took himself too seriously.

When I joined the school board a couple years ago, I got to know him on a different level; on a human level and I have to say, I loved him for his humanity. I loved that he was openly fallible and that behind closed doors he could crack jokes and give us a hard time, just like any dad would do. But the thing I will never forget is his smile; that kind and soothing smile that put you at ease and made you feel like no matter what you did wrong, God would forgive you and Monsignor wanted you to know it was all going to be okay. Words cannot convey exactly what I am feeling at the loss of this man, all I know is that there is a hole in my heart where he used to be.

My daughters are gutted. The entire parish family is mourning and it feels like nothing is quite right without him here. He was retiring at the end of this school year but he said that he wanted to stay near his “family”, us, his children, and so he had bought a condominium in the neighborhood behind the school just so he could be near us always and still visit and now he’s dead and all we have left are the memories of him.

We’ve been talking about Monsignor a lot the last couple of days and sharing stories about what we loved the most about him. It’s hard to believe he won’t be giving mass again. He won’t be greeting us with his kind smile and gentle eyes. He won’t be sending us into the world with his reassurance and fatherly love anymore but he will always be in our hearts.

I’d like to believe that, if there is a heaven, he’s there with my uncles having a good time and keeping watch over the baby I never got to hold and one day, I’ll get to see them all again.

Until then, I will miss his smile.

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miscarriage, grief, loss, pregnancy after miscarriage

Yesterday, I saw that one of my friends has been posting articles about miscarriage on her Facebook page. Then, I noticed there were more instances where she had shared about this topic. She never said she had one and they were not scholarly or medical articles, they were the kind of articles those of us who have suffered one read. They were the kind of articles we read to make sense of it all. I recognized it because I’ve done the same and written many. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, she’s probably had a miscarriage and I didn’t know. After all, it’s not something you lead with in an introduction or just bring up out of the blue or at all, especially if you’re not a writer. I forget that sometimes.

I sat there staring at the screen blankly, hoping and praying that I hadn’t made any stupid comments or jokes like people have done to me over the years. Like me, she has 2 daughters in close proximity and like me, she’s probably gotten the, “when are you having another one?” or “when are you guys going for the little boy?” I’ve got to say, these questions always killed me just a little bit inside because I knew that we had been pregnant that third time and we miscarried. It stings but what am I going to do, explain to every single person that asks me that I miscarried? Spend the rest of my life being able to do nothing more than cry.

In the first place, it’s not everyone’s business. In the second place, it hurts to talk about it. It’s still a touchy subject for me and I’m not sure it ever won’t be. Some things change you forever. Plus, when I have told people, that still doesn’t guarantee that they won’t say something stupid. I’ve learned that when people are at a loss for what to say, they tend to fill the space with words that they should have kept to themselves. When does this stop hurting?

It’s been 4 years. This November, I should be celebrating a 4th birthday for my youngest but instead, I will remember while everyone else has forgotten. No, I am not allowed that luxury. I can never forget; the feeling of loss, emptiness and sheer loneliness. I’ve never felt so lonely and alone as I did in those first days after my miscarriage. There were people there who tried to help but having my miscarriage felt as though I had been exiled off to a planet of one, everything else was just noise and none of it made sense.

I don’t cry anymore, not usually. I do think of my lost baby almost daily. If I see a child the age he/she would be or a family with three children or see my youngest with one of her younger cousins. Or when I see our last name and realize that my husband is the end of his line. I still feel like a failure like I did in those first few days.

That’s one of the worst parts of a miscarriage, feeling like your body failed you and betrayed the life you were supposed to bring forth into the world.

I’ve talked about this to my husband and I don’t think he understands exactly what I went through when I lost our baby. For him, I lost a child that never was. For me, I lost the child that could have been; that already was. That loss broke me forever. I have not been the same. I used to feel like God himself betrayed me. This betrayal scarred me too much to ever try again. I knew then and I know now that I cannot survive the pain of a new loss. I’ve still not recovered from the last time.

People who haven’t had the misfortune of losing a child have said the most unthinkable things to me like… “there must have been something wrong with the baby”, “it must not have been meant to be” and, the absolute worst, “in a way, aren’t you relieved?” And the ever popular, “one of these days when you go to heaven, you’ll get to hold your baby.” I know the intention is well but have you ever thought for one moment that the possibility of holding a child in heaven is a poor substitute for getting to hold him/her everyday here on earth? Every time I’ve heard any of these comments, I’ve had to choke back the tears and stifle my rage. Why would you ever say these things to someone, especially a grieving mother? And no, there is no time limit on grief. I can’t just get over it.

Which brings me back to why I wrote this piece in the first place, I pray I never ask any woman who experienced a loss when she is going to try for that next baby (because I probably have without knowing it). I know how even the mention of a new baby after a loss feels like a kick to the guts and I never want to be the person who kicks another mom when she’s down. The scary truth is that we don’t get over it, ever. Getting pregnant again, for some of us, is unthinkable and, for others, one of the scariest things we will ever face.

And to all the moms who have lost their babies, I don’t know when it stops hurting or when we get to stop feeling like a raw nerve, maybe never, but I’m here and I’ve been where you are. I see you. I know the hurt that lives in your heart and I am sorry that any of us ever had to know this reality. All we can do is keep living each day and carrying our lost babies hearts in our hearts. They were here. You are their mothers, forever and for always.

This is my truth about miscarriage.

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signs of miscarriage, miscarriage symptoms, causes of miscarriage, grief, sadness, loss, miscarriage, lost baby, how to carry on after a miscarriage

Lost baby. No crying. You’re lost to me. Helpless, my only option to carry on. 4 years ago today, I lost my world as I knew it and what was to become of it. My life was shattered into a million pieces and scattered to the wind, blown around the universe like a zillion tiny particles of air. But with all that “air” blowing around, for the life of me, I couldn’t breathe all I could do was cry for my lost baby. I cried until I no longer had any tears. I cried until I felt numb. I cried until I felt like an empty shell of who I was.

I couldn’t speak. Words failed me. They formed at machine gun speed in my broken mind but got caught in my throat and I nearly choked to death on them, right there in the parking lot of my OB, again in my bed and for several months following. The emotional time bombs of grief that come with a mother’s loss blew up beneath my feet and left me in tattered, bloody parts; strewn far and wide.

All I could do, while witnessing the end of my world, was fall to my knees, howl at the world and sob inconsolably at the inhumanity that the world had thrust upon me. I could not draw breath in the fog of my sadness; I suffocated beneath the weight of loss a little more with each passing breath I took. Each time more painful; crueler.

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but I felt as if God gave me so much more credit than I deserved.
The entire world came crashing head on at me and I was stunned, dumbfounded and all I could do was wait to see if I could withstand the impact. I braced myself and prayed for swift death.

I’m not meant to survive this sort of blow. It’s too much. I didn’t even want to come out the other end because I knew, in that one moment, I would never be the same. I would be changed forever and there is no coming back from that. There is only surviving and that’s not the same as living, as you were.

For months, there was only sobbing and darkness. Solitude and Vicodin were my only comfort. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up, I wanted to fade into forever because I was no longer any good to anyone. What good is a mother without her child? What is a childless mother? This was not how nature intended it.

Lost baby.

In the mirror, all I saw was pain and loneliness. All that I could feel was overwhelming anger and bitterness. I was in the deepest recesses of hell and no one could reach me, save for my living children. Like a tether to life, like a far off whisper begging me to step back from that ledge. I had one foot here and one foot in another world, lingering in the loss. All I wanted to do was step off that ledge.

I couldn’t make out where I belonged. All I knew is that it hurt to breath. It was torture to exist. I wanted to die. I deserved to be dead. I didn’t deserve to live. I had failed my child.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said that out loud but it’s how I felt. How could I live, knowing the child growing inside me had died? A part of my soul had died. The best part of me ceased to exist. I felt worthless and worse, undeserving to even love the children I had because in losing one, I had failed them all.

It still hurts; not every day and not always. But I feel like I’ve spent the past 4 years changing and hiding in the shadows; afraid the sadness would find me and inflict it’s cruel punishment once again. The grief is too unbearable.

But I hear my daughters laughing and something inside me, tells me that I deserve to know this happiness. I don’t have to feel guilty for living and loving these girls because it’s not wrong to go on living for them. It’s not wrong to feel pride, unconditional love and overwhelming gratitude for the gift of motherhood. I deserve to be here and it doesn’t diminish the loss because I’ve been able to carry on when once all I could do was cry.

I think of my baby that I lost, every single day. I am mother to three children. If I’m lucky, I get another 50 years on this earth with my girls and then, I look forward to finally meeting the child I never got to hold but have always loved just as much as I do my other two. One day, we will all be together and I deserve to live, to thrive, until that day because my children deserve nothing less; I deserve nothing less.

As long as I can draw breath into my body, I will love you always my lost baby.

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teaching your child about loss, losing a family pet, pets

The hardest thing we have to do as parents is teaching your child about loss. I have two daughters and my youngest is 8-years-old. In the last three years, she has felt the weight of the loss of a sibling, her beloved dog, a cousin and a goldfish. She has a great grandmother and a great-great aunt who are both in their late 80’s and we know more loss is on it’s way but I want to protect them for as long as possible.

 

Yesterday morning before school, we had the girls say goodbye to Teddy just in case the vet could not save him. I was a nervous wreck. My daughter collapsed into my arms and whispered through tear stained cheeks, “Mommy, please don’t let him die.” I knew in that moment, I was going to fight as hard as I’d ever fought to keep this little guy alive.

 

I found the best exotic pet vet in town, begged to be squeezed in as soon as possible and drove across the city with the weak little guy strapped into the front seat in a box, I gingerly seat belted him in as to not disturb him in his weakened state. I felt sick to my stomach. A million what ifs ran through my mind and they all ended with me breaking my daughter’s heart.

 

At the veterinarian’s office, Teddy was thoroughly checked. I was told that it was pneumonia. The remedy? Antibiotics and IV fluids. I was given more liquid antibiotics to give him twice a day until he was well. I left there feeling like I had dodged a major bullet. I had saved him and spared my daughter, yet another loss.

 

We spent the day holding him and talking to him. He quietly chirped and nuzzled into my chin. At first his breathing was labored but soon it quieted and he lay, softly against me where he stayed for hours before doing the same with my daughter.

 

This morning, she held him while she ate breakfast. The Big Guy and I took him briefly to administer his meds. He chirped loudly, which at first I thought was an improvement from his listlessness yesterday but then I began to consider that maybe it was pain that elicited his reaction.

 

My daughter kissed him goodbye and told him that she loved him before she went to school this morning. Then she said, “See you after school, Teddy Bear.” Only she won’t.

 

I came home and cleaned up the house a little bit and then I checked on our little Teddy. I picked him up and he was completely limp but warm. A first, I thought maybe he was fine just still because of the pneumonia and then; I realized he wasn’t breathing and he was not responsive.

 

I can’t even explain the reaction I had. I sobbed and lost my breath because I don’t want to be the one to break my daughter’s heart. I can still hear her whispering for me to save him. It lingers in the air like the faint smell of perfume after someone leaves the room.

 

Today, when she comes home, I am tasked with the unfortunate duty of telling her that her beloved longhaired Guinea Pig, Ted Koppel, has died in my arms from pneumonia while my daughter was at school. I hate teaching my children about loss because it is one that they will learn over and over in this life.

 

Now, it’s pick up time. Time to be there for my girl, after I have to break their tiny hearts and tear their world apart. I hate this part of parenting.

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three tiny rings, grief, loss, commemoration, parenting, miscarriage

Today, I woke up and remembered that I should be snuggling a 3-year-old in my lap this morning. Celebrating with giggles, random hugs and sweet, baby voiced, “I love you”s. Instead, my lap is empty. The only things I have to commemorate what should have been are three thin stackable rings, the birthstones of the three babies that grew inside me once.

Two I kiss and adore and hug and cuddle into my lap every single day, one I never got to hold, not even once. I looked down at that ring a thousand times today, a secret for only me. Suddenly, these three little stackable rings are my most prized possession. They are not worth much money but to me they mean everything. They are tangible, right there on my finger to look upon at will.

Sometimes I feel like that baby was a figment of my imagination. My third baby is like a whisper that lingers for always in my heart; like the sweet smell that lingers after a breeze carries in the smell of fresh flowers on a warm sunny day. It’s a glimpse of happiness quickly followed by sorrow and only for a moment; never enough time to make it tangible.

For three years, I’ve spent this day alone in my head. There are always people around. Sometimes I wish there weren’t so I could wallow a bit in my sadness rather than pretending that the day is like any other day.

Every year on May 1st, the day I miscarried, I allow myself to feel my loss to my very core. Sometimes it hurts terribly. Sometimes not as much. But to do it again on what should have been the day my baby was born, feels overindulgent. I feel like making the leap from one day to two takes me from normal grieving to “weird” as if you can quantify grief.

I don’t know how this is supposed to work or when/if November 24th will feel like just another day. In actuality, nothing of distinction happened on that day. It’s just a due date that was printed on a scan of a baby that I never got to hold. But to me, that day is imprinted on my heart and I’m afraid it always will be.

Does it ever get easier?

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alone, loss, life perspective

It just happened. I just drove past the parking lot of my OB/GYN on the way to take my oldest to get a “purple” tooth looked at. It seems innocuous enough but I’m reminded of the last time I let my mind believe that nothing was wrong. It almost shattered me.

The place where I went to my car, all alone, after seeing the ultrasound that showed my perfect baby’s heart no longer beating. It’s the parking lot where I lost all of my humanity and I roared and sobbed in such a primal way that I was unrecognizable as human. I died a little that day. Something like that changes you forever.

The same parking lot that faces the hospital where I had to go that terrible morning when it happened. The place where time and space were suspended so slowly that I could audibly hear my heart breaking. I remember the entire thing felt like a heavy fog. I remember being angry that this was happening to me. I remember mourning what was being taken. I remember sitting there, silently praying that I wouldn’t wake up. The pain was all consuming. It hurt to breathe and facing my 4-year-old who so badly wanted a younger sibling, the same one whose tiny heart ached congruent with mine,was too much to bear. I was a broken failure and I felt every bit of it.

I just passed that place and I found myself driving, once again on a beautiful spring day feeling removed from my body. I’m trying to hold it together because my 10-year-old is next to me, excited to be in the front seat on this rare occasion. She’s excited about everything. She has no idea that I’m dying, right here beside her. Pushing down feelings, swallowing lumps and afraid to blink…ever again .

Oh no, the lump is growing. I hope I can keep it hidden from her, from everyone.This week. I dread it every year. But I didn’t expect this. I had no intention of driving by this building today, or ever if possible. The only thing that could make this moment worse is if that damn Christina Perri song, A Thousand Years, started playing like it did in those wee hours of the morning 3 years ago as we drove in deafening silence to the hospital to have our baby removed from my body, extracted from our existence. I hate that fucking song now.

But I’m here now. Headed for the dentist office to inquire about a little girl’s purple tooth when all I want to do is go home and cry until all the tears are gone. But they’ll never be gone because they replenish anew, whenever they are needed.

All I want to do is cry. I feel small and overwhelmed and utterly alone. I do talk to the Big Guy when I feel these small hurts getting too big for me to keep inside. He tries to empathize but the truth is even though we both lost something that day, I am the one who lost a physical part of myself. I am the one whose body failed. I am the one who had the extraction. I am the one who can never forgive myself.

The truth is 3 years later, he knows that this day is hard especially for me but it doesn’t effect him in the same way it does me and that makes me reluctant to talk to him or anyone about it. I feel like I have to whisper it so that the words are out but no one hears because if they do, I’ll get the look you give a child whose dog died and they want to talk about it…again. You feel pity and sadness for their pain but inside you only wish they’d stop bringing it up because it makes  you uncomfortable.

The hardest part aside from feeling so alone in all of this is that while today is the day I grieve, tomorrow is my daughter’s first communion and the next is my husband’s 40th birthday. All I want to do is crawl into bed and stay still, shut the world out but instead I have to push my feelings down, put on a smile and entertain all weekend. I have to be happy for the people I love the most, the day after I feel sad for the one I lost.

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grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

I wrote this one for me, to move through the grief that I still feel on occasion. I call them my emotional time-bombs and they go off without discretion. I wrote this last week, before I started feeling this crazy happiness high that I’m on but after I had a good, hard and ugly cry.Or maybe I should say, while I was having the ugly cry. It was cathartic, as was writing this out but I won’t be listening to any Joni Mitchell anytime soon, just to be sure. I’d like to hold on to the happiness for a while longer.

It’s almost May 1st. You know how I can tell? It’s the lingering feeling of trepidation that I’ve been feeling. At first, I didn’t know what was causing it. Just the slightest tinge of sadness, floating around the edge of my existence; smoldering beneath the surface. I can feel it; the loss. It’s been three years, when does it stop feeling fresh?

Most days, I push it down. I try to forget to pretend that something’s not missing. I’ve stopped crying. And then other days, like today, I hear a song like Both Sides Now and my heart just breaks open into a million pieces and I bleed all over my keyboard. I can’t stop the flood of tears and I’m not even sure that I even want to. Life is sad sometimes.

Bad things happen to good people and it’s not fair. Not one bit. I’m an awesome mother. I would have been a great mother to my third baby. I would have loved him so fiercely. There wouldn’t have been a single day that he ever wondered or doubted it but we’ll never know, he and I.

This hole. It is not something that I will ever be able to fill at all. It will always be there and I’m not sure that I know how to feel about that. I look fine to everyone. They don’t know that I walk around feeling totally and utterly incomplete. Part of me is missing and it always will be. That’s the saddest part of all.

I think there are profound things in this world that can alter your life forever. I’m a survivor. There is not much that you can throw at me that I can’t move past. I refuse to be knocked down by life but this one thing, of all the shit I’ve gone through in my life, this thing, I’m having the hardest time moving past.

Grief is a tricky b*tch.

Every April, I walk around like an exposed nerve and it takes me a couple weeks to figure it out. I try to forget the hurt but I can’t. It will not be forgotten. It demands attention. This is how I commemorate what almost was. This is how I slowly fill the hole. I allow myself to acknowledge that it matters to me. I allow myself to be vulnerable to it. To give myself completely over to it. I allow myself to flood my keyboard from time to time and to cry so hard and so ugly that my face stings and hurts.

I miss all of the “what could have been”s. As I type this, I am painfully aware that my house should not be quiet and still. There should be a toddler running amuck, walking and talking and making my life fuller. I shouldn’t have this much time in my day. My lap should be filled and tiny giggles should be everywhere but there is only silence.

Every year at this time, I feel more alone than I should and the loss feels fresh. I recoil a bit but not enough to be noticed. This is my sorrow, my hurt to feel. I don’t want it to be a “thing”. We have so much going on at this time every year and I don’t want this to be the wet blanket on life. This moment is mine and mine alone. It makes me feel closer to the baby I lost, to feel the pain so I write it out.

I’ve never been the person who screams out in pain. I hold it in and I draw strength from it. That is how I survive it. I have to feel every single ache in order to get through it. Sometimes that does mean screaming and raging against the world in my own way, other times it means an almost catatonic silence. I’m not sure what it will mean this year. I only know that right now a song by Joni Mitchell playing in the background crept into my soul and brought me to my knees.

What is the expiration date on grief and how do I make this pain go away?

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loss, miscarriage, remembrance

I thought I had forgotten but it’s never far from my heart. I lied to myself and I believed the lie. Recently, I was at a family holiday party, surrounded by people who I love and love me, and there he was; my beautiful reminder. With his tender, sweet, barely 2-year-old smile, he tore the wound wide open. There should have been two 2-year-olds playing at the party but there is only one.

I sat in silence, with a vaseline smile plastered on my face, trying to mask the pain of the deep wound. Trying to remember to breathe. My eyes were burning but I dared not blink for fear that my secret might be revealed. I made small talk but I don’t remember a word that I said because I was so engrossed in my own inner monologue reminding myself not to cry; to be happy because I have so much to be thankful for.

In the background, I could hear my dear, sweet, amazing 1-year-old niece giggling and mouthing what might be words, or near enough. She is fully engaged. I am smitten with her. Simultaneously, the worn bandage that holds my heart together begins to pull and yank. So much happiness, only makes the emptiness that much more unbearable.

I fool myself into believing that I forget, then I punish myself with guilt but when I allow my heart to remember,to feel the full weight of what I’ve lost, it’s almost impossible in these moments. The moments that sneak up on you in the midst of your everyday life and cut you to your quick,  reminding you that you’re not whole. That you will never be who you were before that day; that single moment that changed you forever.

Don’t blink. You’ll miss what’s happening because you’ll be blinded by what could have been. It’s hard to look directly into the sweet face of what should have been and know that it never will. I was overcome by anger, sadness, envy and then all-consuming guilt because I have more than I deserve.

Sleep in heavenly peace, my dear sweet one. I’ve survived another year without you, but you’re always with me. I carry you; I carry your heart in my heart; forever and always.

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