I am a bereaved mother. I have learned there will always be a little bit of sadness in my day. Some days there is a lot of sadness. And some days still just downright suck.
I am a mother of twins. One of my twins I get to hold in my arms. I get to see him smile every day and watch in amazement as he grows. One of my twins I can only hold in my heart. My heart aches for him and I wonder what should have been. My stretch marks and c-section scar are a result of my twins, born only a minute apart. For 36 weeks and one day my body carried twenty fingers, twenty toes, four arms, four legs, and two little boys who I loved so much.
I am a mother of four children. My days are full of sports games, dirty faces and lots of kisses. But there will always be one empty seat at my dinner table. To the eye we are a family of five. My heart will always know there are six of us.
I am thankful. I spent 35 days with my son before he died. I created memories with him, and I was able to give him a peaceful death. This I know is an experience many in our community would give anything to have. Though my time with him was short, I cherish those days.
I am healing. The memories of his surgeries, procedures, time in the hospital, and eventually his death are with me forever. We had to make decisions no parent should make. Many of the memories I have with him are full of trauma. No parent should ever have to live through seeing their baby hooked up to more machines than they could count. The doctors and nurses exhausted all options to keep him alive, those options haunt me daily.
I am happy. For a long time I didn’t know if I could be again. While I know my heart will never be fully healed this side of Heaven, I have experienced a lot of healing. But time has been my friend and I can now say proudly say that I am happy.
I am fierce. I used to think that he died because I wasn’t a good enough mother. That maybe I couldn’t handle two babies at the same time. I now know that my strength comes from a different place. I held my baby as his heart beat for the very last time, in my arms, and I gave his cold body to his nurse. I walked out of that hospital a different person, with different strengths, and a fierceness I never knew I would have.
I am hopeful. I could not get through this life without the hope that I will see my son again. Somewhere, somehow – I will see him again. While I ache so badly for that day, I am also okay with waiting. I have so much life to live, but one day I will see my baby again.
I am not done with my journey. Grief will always be a part of who I am. There will never be a time where I don’t miss my son. Each year brings different sadness and a different side of grief. My son left a whole in my heart that will never be healed.
I am still learning. I don’t have this all figured out. Some days I feel like maybe I do, but then life throws a different wrench my way and I have to understand how to use it. Like lately, when my only living son grieves his twin brother. As I talk with him through his pain, a whole new side of my pain forms. Together, we are learning the silent role the little boy he can only see in pictures has in his life.
I am a bereaved mother. And most days, those five words still feel like a sucker punch to my throat.
I am Still Standing.