Dear Child of Mine,
Exactly 5 years ago I conceived you and your sister. I remember it so clearly because I reread the journal entries from that time, describing every day in January. Given our journey to bring you into this world hadn’t happened through natural conception, we started assisted conception in the beginning of January and I decided to document our adventure. But this is a story to be told another time.
Our journey brought us both of you, one to raise on planet earth, and one to learn to live without here present in physical form. I’m still learning… every day.
I’m finding it hard to find the words to express my thoughts and feelings in regards to learning to live without you. It’s something I neither expected nor wanted to learn.
Some have said to me: “No one should have to learn this”.
Others believe: “You were meant to learn this”.
Still others reply: “That’s not even a ‘learning’”.
I have to?
I never wanted to.
I need to?
… live without you?
Truthfully, I don’t exactly live without you. You are on my mind, every day. Some days more and some days less. We speak about you. Your sister speaks about you often. She misses you, more so lately, as she really understands the concept of impermanence. She wants a sibling to play with. She doesn’t understand and asks me repeatedly why you couldn’t stay.
I often wonder what the psychological imprint of an identical twin, with whom she spent the first 9 months of her life side by side, leaves behind.
I wonder whether there is consciousness that still connects you from your side with us on our side. We still think of you so often, what about you?
I wonder what you would be like, whether you’d be as energetic as your sister, as verbal and argumentative… I don’t need any help imagining what you would look like given you are identical twin sisters but I wonder how you would be different from your sister.
Would you have the same blond locks, the irresistible giggle when we’d play tickle games? Would you be as bossy as your sister and if so, who would be the one telling the other what to do?
I’m sure your kisses and hugs would be as sweet as your sister’s. Your enjoyment and excitement would match hers. You would probably listen to stories side by side and sing along with Frozen’s theme song together. I don’t doubt you’d enjoy art class, theatre and play group as much as she does.
I’m learning to live without you. I like this statements as it implies a process, something that is happening. It does not proclaim an end or a beginning. I live, without you living by my side. It doesn’t mean I forget you. How could I. Why would I? There is no need to forget. In fact, it is healthier to remember with reverence.
Recently I read on a friend’s post, celebrating his son’s (who had passed as a toddler) 19th birthday: ‘Still learning to live without you’.
Still? There are different meanings to this word. Most likely in this context it means: ‘up to and including the present or the time mentioned; even now (or then) as formerly’.
I have accepted the loss.
Still, I miss you. I miss your unique giggle.
Still, I love you. I love the memory of you and your sister in my womb.
Still, you are part of me.
Still, I am your mother and you are mine. My child.
As Lexi Behrndt from Scribbles & Crumbs so aptly said: “No passage of time will ever change this.” (Quote as I remember it…)
I love you. Full stop.
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You also might like to read related articles by Nathalie:
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(Note: The English book ‘Grieving Parents: Surviving Loss as a Couple’ has been released in its German translation (‘Trauernde Eltern: Wie ein Paar den Verlust eines Kindes überlebt’). This book has been writing in honour and memory of both of my daughters.)
Nathalie Himmelrich the author of a number of resource books for bereaved parents. As a relationship coach, grief recovery expert and bereaved mother herself she believes that relationships (intimate and to other support people) are the foundation for a healthy grieving experience. She is also the founder of the Grieving Parents Support (GPS) Network and the May We All Heal peer support group.