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May 1st

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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miscarriage, loss, grief, May 1st

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.

Can we ever truly recover from loss?

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