Visiting the Cemetery, or Not

September 7, 2016

Yesterday morning I came across a post I wrote on my blog last December on decorating Jenna’s gravesite.

I feel like the worst baby loss mom ever. I haven’t been to her gravesite since the end of summer this year.

I decided early on in this pregnancy that it would be best to try to keep grief at a distance (if that is even possible!) being pregnant with my second rainbow, and with all the complications I tend to have in pregnancy (MTHFR, premature labor just to name a few). We went a lot to see her when I was carrying my son. Every time I went it felt like betrayal — just extremely bittersweet. And now, carrying another baby girl, I know those feelings will only be magnified going.

Jenna Belle

Those feelings already feel magnified not going.

I was driving to church yesterday morning and all of the sudden I just broke. down. Talk about a major tear fest right there on the freeway.

It felt good to cry. I hadn’t cried like that in a long time. At the same time, I got absolutely no relief at all, all day. I’ve been weepy and on the verge of tears, which is unusual. I realize the holidays being right around the corner has something to do with it. That, and the fact that her gravesite probably looks deserted. I can’t shake that thought.

I used to see other ‘deserted-looking’ gravesites, trying not to judge, and wondered why they looked so lonely… so forsaken. Now, I kind of get it. Sometimes it really is just too much to go. And of course, there are the obvious reasons like people move, and some gravesites are over a hundred years old where she’s buried.

But the truth is – sometimes it hurts more than it helps to go.

My best friend (who has also faced the loss of a child) reminded me that she isn’t there. And in times of almost complete insanity (like me yesterday), stating the obvious is more than helpful. She isn’t there. I find great comfort in that, but a part of me still longs to visit her, and give her another ‘princess makeover’ or something special like I did for her last year.

I want so badly to do something to not only BE her mom but FEEL like her mom.

I get so much joy out of looking for toddler activities on Pinterest to do with my son. I almost died of happiness when I found a homemade recipe for sidewalk paint the other day. And I’ve been having a bittersweet, but amazing time putting together this new baby girl’s nursery with Pinterest’s endless handmade ideas. But what for my first child?

I’ve got almost nothing tangible. I felt crazy yesterday. The pregnancy hormones were at an all time high, my grief meter was all maxed out and wearing any makeup was pretty much pointless.

We will hopefully be going to do something for her this morning. I’m not sure if it was the best idea to hold off going to see her all these months. What came out yesterday felt like pent-up grief being unleashed after so much time. But I don’t regret not going, if that makes sense.

Pregnancy after a loss complicates grief, and there really is no right or wrong. Someone yesterday told me to find your limits and live within them. With my son, I learned the hard way that grief had to take the back burner for the sake of the baby. I’ve done what I had to do to survive this pregnancy, and get this baby here safe and sound. I don’t have regrets, but I also wonder a lot what pregnancy must be like without the bittersweet companion of grief. Surely, a much under-appreciated gift, for those who have never faced a loss… a world of innocence.

Are you pregnant after facing a loss? If so, do you find it helpful or harder than usual to visit your child’s resting place during the pregnancy?

  • Franchesca Cox

    Franchesca Cox is the founder and Editor of Still Standing Magazine. She is currently seeking her Master's in Occupational Therapy, a yogi and author of Celebrating Pregnancy Again and Facets of Grief, a creative workbook for grieving mothers. Learn more about her heartwork on her website.

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