Those of us who have been through child loss know as well as anyone the power of a moment in time. Grasping those moments with the child you know you may not have long, and trying to survive in the meantime and the after. It’s so easy to slip into a depressive cycle after losing your…
I’m on the other side of grief. For what it’s worth, it’s different. It’s still grief, it still sucks, it still hurts, it still punches you in the face but it’s different.
I don’t know if it’s any easier. I think it’s all relative, I guess. I don’t cry everyday. Success right? Until you feel guilt that you don’t cry everyday. I have more good days than bad. Which in a normal world is considered progress but the bad days hit harder when they come out of nowhere.
I’m two years from when I lost my baby boys. In one way it feels like yesterday, in another, it feels like a million lifetimes ago. Time has a funny way of making you feel completely crazy. What does my life look like now, two years later ? It’s mostly normal. I’m no longer looked at as a fragile being who needs to be handled with kid gloves. Because, I guess, I’ve proven and shown the world that I’m still standing, I haven’t given up and I’m doing ok.
Just doing ok.
The question of whether I have kids or not presents itself often. Immediately after their births, I shouted from the mountaintops that I had two baby boys that lived, that died too soon. That mattered. Because I needed them to matter. The pain I was going through, the relentless feeling of being completely lost and broken, was ok because I had just made it through such a tragic loss.
Two years later, people forget. I will never forget my boys. I have too much love, adoration, appreciation and pride at the battle they fought to survive, the all consuming love I felt as I held them, the completely overwhelming feeling of loss when I had to let them go, for them not to matter. In two years, so much has changed. I’ve grown, certainly. You can’t go through the emotional tornado of feelings that bring destruction to every area of your life without it changing you.
Do I have kids? I do…. please don’t ask how old. Please don’t ask any more questions that my weary heart would have to answer. Because I’m trying really hard to prove to myself and everyone else that I have moved forward. Where has it gotten me, this moving forward from loss? It’s gotten me into moments where I am completely lost in hurt. In anger, In pain. But it’s also gotten me to places where I can share my life and story and they boys lives with others to encourage the hurting hearts of those going through the same kind of pain.
I’m more compassionate. My heart, on a normal day before they died, was an open heart willing to love and pray and love people through hard times. Now, I feel, just kind of lost. But I sill want to love everyone and make their pain less; I’ll put it on my shoulders because at least it makes me useful, right? So I do the only thing I can. I share my heart, I’m transparent in the healing and the pain.
Two years later, I’m on the other side of grief and it’s different. My body is for the most part healed. My breast milk finally dried up so I don’t have that daily reminder. It’s not the physical reminders anymore but the hopes I’ve had to move away from. I might have had to move away from that to move forward but I will never move away from loving my boys. From missing them. From wondering what kind of crazy, chaos two toddler twin boys would be wrecking in my life.
I’d trade all I have to know.
But I can’t.
So I move forward.
I think back when they died and I was met with hugs and platitudes, some helpful, some not. A mother who loses her babies is often met with kindness and compassion. Her grief is expected, and, if she’s fortunate, its embraced so she can honestly grieve without feeling guilty. (Let’s be honest here for a quick minute. Sometimes a newly grieving mother is met with really stupid comments, really insincere people and insanely inappropriate comments as well. Trust, I was there too on the receiving end of that.)
People quietly whisper about their teething babies, their sonograms, their potty training because they don’t want to cause more pain.
What’s different two years later? No one asks me anymore anything about anything regarding them. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, that I don’t have to recount the three weeks that were the hardest of anything I’ve lived though and honestly, what can they say to me? Still, the silence sucks. I’m sent baby shower invites; I’m stuck in a room with no way out as a mother talks about her upcoming delivery date and how excited she is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to celebrate; my heart overflows when I see a mother holding her baby. I’m happy for them but it still knocks the wind out of me sometimes because I think, “Don’t you realize the person you’re complaining to about your baby is the same person you prayed for two years ago when mine died?”
But I lived through the loss.
Alone in my pain and grief and brokenness.
Two years later, I’m on the other side of grief. It’s a lonely group I’m part of because parents stop talking about what they lost. Usually because they have their rainbows by now. I don’t have a rainbow. In fact, I don’t have much but myself. I lost my husband and 3 step-kids as a side affect of grief, that’s a fun surprise that kicks your teeth out…So no, I don’t have a rainbow, yet. I have no idea how or when or why or anything logical to make that a reality for me. So I wait. And I hope. And I pray. I want a baby. I want a billion babies.
Do I sperm donor all of them? Do I trust that my time is right around the corner? Do I wait to fall in love with a man who desires to start a family later in life as I’ve found myself?
On the other side of grief, where do you fit in? I’m not sure. I feel more lost, broken, confused than I have in a long time. I don’t know the answers. What I do know is this.
I love Tucker and Fletcher, every single day. I wonder what life would be like with two toddlers terrorizing everything around them. I miss that. I’d love to be part of that. Sometimes I can close my eyes and see them playing, I can feel their arms around my neck, I can hear their voices. That’s the power of a mother’s love right there. Because even though it will never be our reality, it doesn’t make it any less real.
So, on the other side of grief, it’s just me. It’s lonely. More lonely than I’ve ever been. I don’t fit in with the couples praying for their rainbow. I don’t fit in with the mothers who are still completely lost in heartache. I don’t fit. I find myself living my life. With hopes, plans, dreams for the future that include a baby or four that will rock my world and turn it upside down in a way I’d welcome.
Two years outside of grief, this is me.
Still standing, still fighting, still loving, still longing, still hoping and still believing that there is a baby story that is still being written for this grieving mother of twin boys I only held for a short moment. I don’t have it all figured out but I haven’t given up.
At times, I feel a nice break in a mental ward where I can rest, relax and remember, would do me well. But life doesn’t end when your heart breaks. You keep going, you keep moving forward and you believing that better is Right. Around. The. Corner. In two years I’ve grown. I’ve healed. I’ve spread my stupid wings and seen where they can take me. To some beautiful place where all that is missing is everything I wanted with me.
But two years later, I’m Standing. Still. I’m not going anywhere else, other than standing strong where I’ve fought so hard to be.