Today my daughter would have been one year and four months, if she’d lived.
The grief is starting to get uncomfortable now.
Well, not the grief, really. People’s reactions to the grief, to my feeling and expressing of it. I’m feeling pressure to stop talking about it, about her. To “get over it,” to “move on.”
They don’t understand. You don’t just get over something like this. Because no matter how much you express or repress your pain, it is always there. It always rises up and knocks you down, no matter how much you think you’ve healed.
At least, that’s how it feels to me.
And really, it’s not all that many people who have said the words that knife deep into my heart, that urge me to forget my daughter. But it’s enough people, and it’s people who are supposed to count for more, people who wear the name “family.”
It’s enough people that I wonder what other people are thinking, the ones who say nothing. Enough that I wonder if people think I’m hanging onto this grief for the attention or the drama. Enough that I feel afraid to wear my necklaces — gifts from friends and family, I might add — that boldly proclaim the fact that I have two children.
Here’s the thing that I think the ones who cut with their words don’t understand — that I don’t go looking for the grief. I don’t want to ache with the missing of her.
I don’t seek out the pain. It finds me, always.
Especially around this time of the month, every month. Every month the anger that masks the pain rises, the irritability, the tears, and I feel like I’m going insane — until I look at the calendar and realize that it’s the eighteenth (the day we found out she died), the nineteenth (the day I was admitted for her induction), the twentieth (the day she was stillborn).
I never notice the calendar and think, “Oh, it’s her days,” and muster up the sadness. The sadness always comes first. My body remembers before my mind.
If I were to stop talking about my son, to stop being blessed and amazed by him, to stop rejoicing in his little miracle of a self, I would be criticized. So how does it follow that I should never talk about my daughter, that I should never rejoice in the miracle of her short life?
I cannot leave her memory behind, and the pain of missing her will not leave me. There is healing, there is restoration in God’s hands, but silence and forgetting have no place in those things.
In case you don’t know it, in case you’ve been told otherwise, let me remind you, my sweet friends — grief is a symptom of love. Grief is natural and normal. Grief is healing. Grief has no time limit.
Grief is necessary.
Let no one bully you into thinking anything else.
As for me, I will pray for courage and wear my necklaces and tell this story that I’ve been given. It feels wrong to do anything else.