I work constantly to find gratitude in my sorrow. This is actually the topic of an article I'm writing for a website.
I look for you everywhere. I have friends that see butterflies everywhere, others who find feathers....maybe I am looking too hard and that's why I can't find you.
I do hear your name...your name is not unusual, but not incredibly common either. I see a cat on Facebook with your name. I hear a mother call out to her daughter. I see a post of someone with your middle name.
I feel like it's you saying hi, reminding me that you're still around....as though you aren't in my thoughts every second.
Surrendering to grief is scary for me. I allow myself sad times, but if I think about the full weight of who I've lost, it's like I am drowning. The kind of anger, sorrow, crying, screaming, pain that feels like it will never end.
"If it is not too painful, allow yourself to imagine who your child would be now."
This is something I think about on a daily basis, but can't even bring myself to put into words.
The only myth I have found, is that people expect you to get "better".
If I get "better" it's only that I'm better at hiding my grief.
I'm better at keeping in the tears until I'm alone.
I'm better at acting like my heart isn't shattered into a million pieces.
I'm better at pretending everything is fine, because living the truth is too uncomfortable for other people to see.
It is so hard for people to empathize/sympathize with the loss of a child, because they haven't experienced it.
When an elderly person dies, we say they had a great life. When someone who's been battling cancer dies, we say at least they are no longer in pain.
When a baby dies....no one knows what to say.
I totally understand that and I wish that none of us HAD to know what to say...but, for me, it's as simple as, "I'm so sorry, I can't even begin to imagine what you are feeling"...because that is the honest truth.
After that, just be there. Don't say, "call me if there's anything I can do", because I am never going to ask for help. Call me and say, "I'm stopping by tomorrow night with dinner" or "I'd like to drop this great new book off that I think you'd enjoy".
As time goes on, don't be afraid to mention my babies and their names. Yes, I will likely cry, but I will also be grateful that you are thinking of them also, that the world hasn't forgotten them, that you know that I will never forget them.
I can't believe I am going to live the rest of my life this way.
That every morning, for the next however many years, I will wake up and miss my babies.
That every single day, my heart will ache for them.
That every birthday, holiday, life event they should be celebrating, I will be grieving the losses all over again.
That this will never get "easier". It may get more manageable, I may be able to hide my grief better or save it for a more appropriate environment...but it will never get easier.
That the rest of my life will be this tortuous pain.
I have the most amazing and support family and friends, but people are still scared to bring up their names.
The biggest support system I have found is through other grieving mamas. Mainly the Forever Footprints monthly group, but also through people I've met online and forged friendships with.
This loss of a child is so different from any other loss, that only those with firsthand experience can truly understand the depth of this kind of grief.
My heart is broken, I feel alone, abandoned, angry, depressed....I feel like I am screaming out that I need help, but no one can hear me.
I can't take credit for any of these pictures, but they express it better than words.