My husband and I lost our first child six months into our marriage. Which was only about three years into our relationship. We had a very good way of communicating but it was difficult to hold onto that in the ocean of grief. The thing about grief is that it is different for everyone. You never know how it will be for you or anyone around you until you are in it. This can make navigating a relationship after loss very trying. I will say that we went to see a counselor during this time, but I know not everyone wants or has time to see a counselor. So I wanted to share three simple things that helped my husband and me communicate after our loss.
1. Begin a couple’s journal.
This was something suggested to us by our counselor. We already kept a journal to write letters to one another in, so it was easy to pick the journal back up and use it in a new way. What we had to do, at minimum, was write what we felt that day and what we needed. It did not have to be what we felt about each other or the loss. Nor did it have to be something we needed from one another. Rather it was a very straightforward way of communicating our basic feelings and needs. All you have to do is buy a journal or grab one from around the house and begin. Don’t make it complicated; just use it to open up communication.
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2. Set aside a night for grieving and remembering.
Within a week of our loss, my husband and I really felt the need to remember and acknowledge our little one. I was only eleven weeks along but the loss still stung. We had names picked out and everything. We planned a night to light a candle in remembrance of our baby and write letters to her. My husband suggested that we also get a bottle of wine to share. So we went out and found one with a meaningful name and shared the wine as we wrote. At the end of the night, we placed the letters in a box of things we had for our baby and have kept them ever since. It was a very healing night and a special way to grieve together.
3. Make time to check in with one another.
One of the hardest and most important things about grief is discussing it. It was difficult some days to talk about what was going on in my mind. We got better and better, even when it was tough, about sitting down and asking and really listening to how one another was feeling about everything. It helped us grow together instead of growing apart during our time of raw grief. This is not something we did every day or even every week but we tried at least once a month to take that time.
I truly believe that we are as close as we are today because we worked through the grieving period together. At the end of the day what mattered most is that we both put effort into going through this scary journey side by side.
Photo by: Brooke Cagle
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her Rainbow Baby, Atlas Delilah Rose, born December 2017. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey.