Still Standing

I Will: Reflections at One Year

February 19th, 2018 marks the one year anniversary of the day we said hello and goodbye to our son. I cannot believe it has been one year, how can that be? I find myself amazed how time has passed so quickly and yet so slowly. How am I still standing after seeing my doctor shake her head, confirming that Asher’s heart had stopped in utero? How did I leave that hospital without my child? How did I get up every day since that moment?

The answer is because I had to. I had no other choice when my heart kept beating and Asher’s stopped. My only option was to move forward (not on) to share my son and my love for him with the world.

I have transitioned from a grief-filled zombie who refused to take any pride in her appearance to a fairly functional human. I have clawed my way out of the all-consuming grief that follows the initial loss and have been able to go, sometimes, days without crying. A year after the shattering of my world my grief has evolved. It will always be there because the love I have for Asher will always be there, but it is not as consuming as it once was.

That being said, sometimes when I am alone the magnitude of our loss will suddenly hit me. Obviously, I am always aware that my son is missing, but there are certain moments where it knocks the wind out of me. All of it this actually happened. I carried a beautiful boy for 32 weeks 5 days, I faced my fear of childbirth to deliver that beautiful boy, and I left the hospital without him. The reality of it can just be too much.  It feels like an out of body experience at times like it happened to someone else, but it didn’t. It happened to me. I lost my son and I am now a mother with empty arms.

Over the course of my first year into this journey of life after loss I learned that life will be a delicate dance between happiness and sadness. I will have days where I can smile. I will have days where I will laugh, and I will have days of joy.  I will be able to enjoy life. However, I will also have sadness because one person will ALWAYS be missing. I will have moments where a song can trigger a sudden emotional breakdown. I will cry in public while watching a father and son play together. Triggers will pop up daily and my reaction to them will depend on my emotional state at that point in time.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people I surround myself with over this year. I’ve learned that we have some pretty amazing people in our lives. I’ve also met some wonderful people who, unfortunately, are familiar with the pain of losing a child. Those people have been life lines for me. I’ve learned that I am not alone and it’s okay to lean on others for help. It’s okay to be vulnerable and share your pain. However, the most important thing I learned is that Asher will always be with me. I may not have him in my arms but he is in my heart. I will always talk about him and he will always be included as a member of our family.

I will never let my son be forgotten, and I will strive to make my son proud of his momma every day.

Photo from Amy Lied.