Here lately heaven has felt really far away. Aidan has felt really far away. The hours we spent together as a family just weren’t enough. My heart seems to be in repeat mode. I keep reliving those days.
The days before his birth were such blissful days. They were so easy and exciting. They were perfect. Literally the calm before the storm.
The hours in the hospital before his birth seem dreamlike. There is this haze that has settled in my memories. Almost as if a layer of protection has set in. I remember key moments, but they all seem right together and not hours apart.
Aidan’s birth is crystal clear. I remember the contractions, the fear, and the wonder. Yet, still I have no concept of time. I cannot piece it all together.
It’s the hours we spent together. I can count the seconds out to you. I can tell you who came, who held him, who held me. I can distinctly remember our night nurse checking on me. One very sweet moment where she caught me memorizing Aidan and she just sat and cried with me. These are the “safe” moments. He was here and while I knew I wouldn’t get to keep him, I had him for those moments and I cherished them. They would have to sustain me.
Once we got Aidan home and to the funeral home, something else set in. The loneliness. I had just handed my child over and would never hold him again. I had picked out his casket while holding him in my arms. Reality set in and everything was too sharp; too in focus. I just needed life to wait. I had to physically heal. My heart had to keep beating. I had to remember to take each breath. The rawness led to this overwhelming exposure.
And it was ok for that week. And even for the weeks I was home “recovering.” But, the world kept spinning and I had to learn how to live again. Some say I’m living up to my name and am the tower of strength. Others think I am stuck and cannot move on. I’m somewhere in the middle. When the focus is on me and what I’m supposed to be doing/ feeling I feel overwhelmed. I feel very unsafe. But, when it’s for Aidan or another family, I am focused. I am mission oriented. I am a momma pushing that mountain.
This past weekend I felt the softness and security. I felt safe. I felt incredibly close to people who get it. And they don’t have to get it because they too have lost a child. They get it because they love us through. They recognized the value of our babies. They acknowledge the emptiness left behind.
Safe. Surrounded by over 1,000 people and I felt safe.
June 23rd was central Arkansas’ Race to Remember. Over 1,000 people came out and honored pregnancy and infant loss. There just aren’t enough words to describe it. Quite simply? It was amazing. Humbling. Connecting. Beautiful.
Over the past ten months there have been several defining moments. This one was different though. It felt different. It was this wonderful step on this journey. It actually felt like a step. The first safe one I’ve had since I walked away from A’s casket that beautiful Friday morning.
I challenge you to meet face to face. Surround yourselves with people who understand the ups and downs. Establish that personal relationship that is safe and without expectations. Find someone who can admire the strength it took to get out of bed, let alone all of the other amazing things you do.