Life After Loss: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The loss of a baby changes you permanently. I can honestly say that I barely remember what life was like before I lost Marco. October 6th, 2009 seems like an eternity ago. On that day, I was forced to start a new life.
A life after a loss is not one that I had envisioned for myself. No, it’s not. I envisioned myself crying about sending my 4 month old to daycare, not crying on the floor of what should have been his nursery over the fact that he was permanently gone and would never be 4 months old.
Yes, it took me some time to adjust to this new life. I don’t know that I’ll ever perfect it, but as I’ve adjusted, I’ve learned about the good, the bad, and the ugly of life after a loss. This is my own personal take on it, but maybe it’s similar to yours…
I know, I know. You’re asking me right now, “what could possibly be GOOD about losing a baby”. Nothing, really. Nonetheless, I try as I might to see at least something good in all of this mess. Good is the people that I have met in the loss community. It is my greater awareness of the here and now. I love more fiercely because of Marco and the loss of him. Yes, I still get frustrated with my toddler when she pushes my limits, but I am able to circle back and remind myself that being frustrated with your toddler is a GOOD problem to have. Good is there, you just have to open your eyes to it and allow it to seep in.
Well, the bad is quite evident. The bad is that our little ones are not here. The bad is that the child that died in my arms at 29 weeks 4 days will never dig in the sand. He’ll never fall off of his bike to brush himself off and try again. He’ll never shine what would have no-doubt been a beautiful bright smile at me. He’ll never antagonize his little sister and get put in time out for it. He’ll never get to snack on graham crackers and drink from a juice box. He’ll never kick a soccer ball or get to squirt a Super Soaker. He’ll never get to make buddies or play with his cousins. He’ll never have chocolate all over his face and hands from a fast-melting ice cream cone on the boardwalk at the beach in the summer. He’ll never know what it’s like to have his heart broken over his first love. He’ll never grow old and have what he would have dreamt about having in the future. All of those dreams for him died when he did. Gone. Forever. That is a big, jagged, foul pill to swallow. I don’t like this pill. It’s the yuckiest yuck I’ve ever tasted.
It’s hard enough for me to put this on paper, let alone share it with others. Here’s the ugly side of all of this for me – being jealous and hardened. I think it is a miracle when someone conceives and a baby is born and lives. I would never wish the horror of losing a child on anyone. No one. Ever. Having said that, however, I have to admit to a twinge of jealousy that I feel when I hear of someone being pregnant or having a baby. I know – it’s ugly, isn’t it. I have been incredibly blessed and fortunate to have had a beautiful, healthy daughter, Lucia, born almost 2 years after I lost Marco. It has been immensely healing to have her in our world. She is a ray of light, bursting with life. I would have thought that having her would take away that jealousy that I feel around other pregnant women, but it didn’t. Yes – having her lessened it – but it’s still there. And again, it is ugly. Hideous. Part of it may have to do with my difficulty conceiving her and my difficulty now with conceiving again. In trying to pinpoint what the jealousy is exactly, I have realized that it’s not so much jealousy over the baby they are having, it’s that their experience is what I wanted mine to be like. I did experience a healthy pregnancy and baby, yes, but the glasses I was wearing during that time were extremely foggy from all the yuck that I had gone through with the loss. It’s ugly, but it’s the truth, and I am setting it free.
Some will say that losing a baby makes them stronger. I ask myself if it has made me stronger, and I honestly don’t know. I do know that it has made me aware of the strength that we all have. My own story and the story of all the baby loss families and families struggling with infertility is a testament to that strength. How we endure the pain that we’ve been faced with baffles me, but yet we do it. We face the pain. We put one foot in front of the other and we continue with life. We live, and when we’re ready, we live to the fullest. We smile, we cry, we laugh, we live. We lead colorful lives – showing all of our colors – not just the pretty, happy colors like green and purple, but also the more grim colors of grey and black. They’re all part of our true colors – and put together – they’re all beautiful – the good, the bad and the ugly.