I remember the first couple of weeks and months after saying goodbye to my precious Jonah at 30 weeks gestation due to a heart condition as extremely difficult and filled with so many ups and downs, I felt like a marionette doll living someone else’s life, because there’s no way that much sadness could be…
I see your silent grief. The way your eyes dart away from the obviously pregnant woman sitting across from you. I see you desperately holding the oversize purse, arms wrapped tightly around your belly. I see how your smile doesn’t quite light up your eyes and how quickly it fades when others are not paying attention. I see the tracks dried tears have made down your cheeks. I see the quick swipe of your hand over the corner of your eye, as you try to fool the world into believing you are fixing smudged mascara.
I see your truth. I see the days filled with ‘what if’ and a room full of baby things holding a space for what should have been. I see how those closest to you drift slowly away like driftwood in a current. I see how the ones who call you ‘friend’ don’t bother to call anymore. I see how they go on with the business of life, filling their days ~ forgetting yours are still empty. I see how others push you too fast, too hard, and too soon to be the old you, not realizing you will never be that person again. I see how the things that were once important are now meaningless.
I see your heart. I see the shattered and splintered pieces still manage to beat through the day, pushing you further and further from those last moments with your child. I see how others ignore your pain and assume that ‘in time’ things will get better. I see how the hurtful and misguided attempts at ‘consoling’ you are met with your silent screams. I see the moments you wish you were dead, just to end the unbearable pain of living. I see how desperately you want to have back your ignorance and illusions before your child died.
I see your guilt. I see the way you punish yourself day by day. I see how you blame your body for what happened. I see how you reel with unanswered questions and wrestle with what may have been. I see your anguish when another parent shares their pregnancy news and you wonder IF they will get lucky and hold their child. I see how you wish them no ill will, yet at the same time hold your breath and congratulations because you know that not all babies make it.
I see your hope. I see the moments throughout the day that you catch a glimpse of light. I see the slight curve of your mouth when that song is played and how it makes you happy for a split second. I see you grasp for something ~ ANYTHING ~ that feels good in the moment, only to watch it slip through your grasp as the guilt you feel in that moment of light accuses you of forsaking your child.
I see your confusion and doubt. How you are weighted down, trying to navigate through the thick fog and suddenly clarity is yours again. I know you don’t dare admit this to anyone because people may think you are somehow giving credence to the false belief that grieving has a time limit. I see the war inside your mind as you fight like a gladiator for the brief moments of lucidity in one part of your day as you fiercely fight the pain and that wraps you in its grip, like a straight jacket.
I see you.
I see you and your grief, your truth, your heart, your guilt, your hope, your confusion and doubt. You are shattered. Your brokenness is like stained glass pieces waiting to be fused. I see that you never asked for this pain and yet you are trying to live with it. I see you for what you are ~ a bereaved parent ~ who needs to be seen. So my friend, I see you and accept you ~ right here in this moment ~ and acknowledge all your hurt and pain. I won’t look away, make excuses or pretend you can be fixed with my words.
Time will solder your fractured pieces with molten hot moments that you have yet to experience. One day, you will be able to let the light shine through you again.
Until then . . . as the world celebrates Christmas and another New Year I hope that you are seen and loved by others in your life. I hope in these harsh moments the days ahead are gentle on you, because you are worth seeing!