- Child Loss
- Complicated Grief
- Neonatal Loss
- parenting after loss
- Rainbow Baby
That’s Just How Grief Is
I’m sure that my words won’t go over well.
Doubtful I’ll ever have a day that’s not an issue, isn’t it? Living this life that people just can’t really understand until they walk in the shoes, on a regular basis and without fail, I am bound to think (and then, consequently, say or write) something that is going to make people wince…cringe and ‘re-think’ who I am and what I represent and all that other grand stuff that I never asked for and would give away in an nth of a second.
With that warning, I’ll have to just have to say this.
I don’t really love hearing, “But it was all worth it, wasn’t it? You have such a beautiful and precious little boy.”
Yes, I do.
Actually, I had two more.
There is nothing and no one that is worth their deaths.
Though I’m not really sure why, except we are human and it’s what we do, I feel like in the infertility and child loss world, we create camps. Camps of those who only suffer infertility and no loss. Camps of those who suffer loss but no infertility. Camps who suffer infertility AND loss. (The one to which I belong and hate the most.)
Even within those camps, there are more breakdowns. There are those who are infertile, but eventually have children to raise. There are those who are infertile but who never hear “Mama” or “Daddy.”
There are those who suffer loss and to which the same applies—some still raise children and others don’t ever have another chance.
So, so many groups, even within these enormous umbrellas we term ‘Infertile’ and/or ‘Bereaved’.
And here’s what I find, and, of course stands to reason. Some find it far, far easier to say, “But I wouldn’t change a thing…” than others do.
That gets under my skin. Maybe because I would TOTALLY, TOTALLY change a lot of things. Namely, the deaths of my two sons. I see online posts from infertile friends who finally can call themselves parents and they say things like, “The journey was hard, but worth it!” or “Finally! FINALLY we’ve BEATEN infertility!”
Those words will never be mine. The ‘journey’ has been wrought with more heartache and longing than I dreamed my soul could ever bear, and though I love my three-year-old more than life itself, if I am honest, I don’t know that if I was given the foresight of knowing what burying one child felt like, I’d ever had said, “But it’ll be ok, because I’ll have another I couldn’t imagine living without.”
In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d have said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Which brings me to another thing I just can’t bring myself to say. Many friends who have suffered miscarriages have been given peace in their grief by way of something along the lines of this: “If that baby I lost at x weeks had lived….I’d never have had (insert subsequent living child) and my life wouldn’t be the same without him or her.”
I get that. I do. I mean, seriously, I, of all people get that. I’ve said it before and think it all the time…if Matthew had lived, Luke would not exist. I love that child so deeply and fiercely that some days, I actually do come close (close) to feeling that…feeling that Matthew was not meant to be mine, but Luke? Luke was.
And then my heart seizes in terror at what feels like the worst act of disrespect that ever a mother could engage—being ‘ok’ that one (or more) didn’t survive because at least one does.
(Ohhhhhh….how I despise “at least”…)
I just can’t get there.
So I’ll never say, “I wouldn’t change a thing…” or “It was all worth it…” or “It all happened the way it should have…”
Matthew shouldn’t have died. His death just for Luke’s existence? Impossible to harmonize those concepts.
Trey shouldn’t have died. I’ve often wondered whether I’d have preferred not even getting pregnant again if only to lose, and with no hope for another ‘Rainbow’ to help heal my heart. Again, impossible to come to terms with.
People wonder why many can’t ‘get over’ grief. Let me just tell you—some thoughts and feelings will never, ever be reconciled.
And that’s just how grief is.
********AN ADD-ON******** This article posted this morning, and as expected, I had many comments of various perspective. The one that I think resonates the most, though, and is the hardest for people to understand is simply irreconcilable is this: No, I would not trade Luke for anything in the entire world. Anything. He is amazing and healing and precious and restoration and he is the reason I breathe every day.
But let us be honest…wouldn’t I have said that about Matthew? Before Luke? Had Matthew lived and I was able to watch him grow and become an amazing little person who called me Mama and slathered me with sloppy kisses—wouldn’t I have said the.very.same.thing? That I wouldn’t trade him for anything or anyONE? Even Luke?
Because the reality is that I’d never even know my fabulous little Luke if Matthew had lived.
But I wouldn’t know any differently either.
This…this is why grief keeps parents up at night. Triggers flashbacks. Makes the heart palpitate and the skin crawl.