Is there a right or wrong way to experience loss? Is there a time limit on grief? I don’t think so.
May 1st is my annual day of mourning. I don’t know if this is normal or not but it’s what is normal for me. My miscarriage changed me forever. It’s how I get through this. It’s the one day of the year that I am completely still and I allow myself to feel all the feelings because quite honestly, this week just knowing that the anniversary of such a terrible event in my life was approaching had me walking around feeling like an exposed nerve. I changed forever on that day and I‘ll never be the same. No matter how hard I try or pretend to be.
I have cried at song lyrics and at the sound of the giggles of my daughters, knowing that one is missing. There is a hole in my heart that will never be repaired; not for my entire life. When my littlest daughter cuddles into me at bedtime and asks me for baby brother or sister, I hold my breath, push down the lump and pray I can hold back the tears long enough for her to fall asleep. Most days it’s a tiny little ache that I hardly even notice anymore but other days, it’s a sharp shooting pain that steals my breath away and others that confine me to my bed and the space in my head where I am allowed to dwell in my heartbreak.
It’s just one day and it doesn’t seem enough but at the same time, how do you quantify loss?
When I had my miscarriage, I wanted to die. All I could do was cry.I wanted to sink into one of my deep, tear stained sleeps where I had sobbed myself into exhaustion and never wake up. I was given pain killers and sleeping pills to help. I can’t tell you how many times in that first month that I mixed them, hoping to “accidentally” not wake up. The only thing that kept my weary mind and body grounded in this world were my girls and the Big Guy. I’ve never told anyone that.
May 1st is the day that I had my D & E. Two years ago, I went in to my obstetrician’s office for a little spotting, just like I did in both pregnancies previous. Today was the day that my entire world crashed down around me. Then, it became real. My body failed me and my heart shattered into one million tiny scattered pieces. May 1st is the day that I lost my baby. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I will mourn that day for the rest of my life.
I feel like people don’t understand; not my family or my friends and certainly not the general population. I feel like people are thinking that I should get over it. After all, “It” was just a pregnancy. It wasn’t like I had a child who lived and then he died. The thing that I feel people fail to understand is that “IT” was not an “it” at all. It was my child; it was a Bella or a Gabi. In my heart and in my mind, I loved that baby just as much as I love the two I get the privilege of kissing good night every blessed night. I lost everything and I won’t ever get over that.
I don’t linger in my loss anymore these days. I live each day knowing that a piece of my heart is missing and it hurts when I think about it. I give myself this ONE day of the year. I don’t need permission or to explain it to anyone. I just need this one day to not buckle under the weight of my own heart, to not choke from the lump in my throat, to cry until there are no more tears left and to be mad as hell that where my baby should be, my arms are empty and will always be.
The pain of losing a pregnancy or a child is like no other pain. If you’ve never experienced it (and I pray that you don’t) just take that all-consuming, unimagined love that you felt for your baby the first time you held her and then multiply that by a million in the opposite direction. That is what I feel like on May 1st, like I am being hit by a Mack truck and the worst part is that I know its coming.
I know I’ll always take pause in remember the day that my world was shattered. Some years the anniversary will hurt less and some years it will hurt more. But every year, on May 1st, I am giving myself the day to feel all of my feelings , even if I feel absolutely nothing but flat exhaustion. Or maybe one of these days, I will be happy dressing my daughter for her wedding or witnessing the birth of my 1st grandchild and I won’t be overcome with grief or even tinged with sadness. No matter what I feel, it’s okay but I have to do this for myself.
Part of me shut off that day. I pushed it down, way down so I could function but it’s there bubbling beneath the surface. There are feelings that are so overwhelming that I’m afraid to let them in and that is what today is for, to sit still, alone and feel whatever feelings come up.