Gripping the bathroom sink, I lean in closer to the mirror. Just enough to inspect the new patch of gray hair that seems to be ever expanding. My eyes fall, meeting my own gaze. I pause for a moment. Looking hard at my reflection.
Who is this woman in the mirror? I know I should recognize her, but I don’t.
She looks tired. The once familiar smile in her eyes, gone. It is replaced now by dark circles and a sadness conceived through trauma. Those eyes have seen things no mother should.
My eyes continue their decent. Judging the extra curves. Shaming the added weight. The person I see standing before me in the mirror is a complete stranger. Even on the inside. My heart just doesn’t see the world through the same lens.
As I turn away, I sigh and whisper, “I miss you, Buddy.”
More than 3 years have passed. To the outside world, it may seem I’ve figured it out… how to carry this loss and live at the same time. Maybe I have. I certainly don’t think there is anything I could do differently to get me closer to that goal, which makes me question if it even should be a goal. It doesn’t seem realistic.
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If I’ve figured it out, why am I still so broken?
Learning to carry my pain and continuing with my life hasn’t gotten easier. But I do it.
Life after child loss is chaotic, complex. Moving through it causes stress long after we feel the effects of that stress. This “new normal” takes it’s toll both mentally and physically. I miss how easy life was before, even when it was hard.
I’m angry. Learning there is zero control over your life, and resigning yourself to the fact you must forever live this life you never wanted. It doesn’t matter how good the life can be, it’s not what you want it to be.
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I have found happiness after loss, but I miss being happy.
The way it should feel. I make plans and invest in our future, but I miss the zest and excitement that used to accompany those activities. I make new memories, but the excitement and anticipation have faded. It’s as if a coldness exists over my emotions, freezing everything so I can’t feel like I used to.
I long to reconnect with the me from before. Yet, no matter how hard I seek, she remains hidden. I can’t get her back. She no longer seems to fit in this world.
I guess it’s true a piece of me died that day. Part of my heart went with you. Gone, forever.
Photo: Garon Piceli | Pexels
Emily is a wife and mother to 3 children – 2 girls here 1 son in heaven. Late Christmas Eve (2015) life was sent on a new, unexpected trajectory. Her oldest child, Cameron (forever 7), unexpectedly got sick. Within 24-hours they were making the hardest decision of their lives to withdraw life support. As he died in her arms, she promised to find a way to live on in his honor.
She began sharing her grief journey on her blog (JustPlayingHouse.com), and the response from other bereaved parents was overwhelming. Feedback resonated that the support out there seemed to focus on infant/baby loss and miscarriage versus older children. She felt this was an opportunity and calling to help fill in that gap. Her passion is supporting other bereaved parents walking this path and educating others in an attempt to shatter the stigma surrounding grief and life after child loss. Writing has been the foundation of Emily’s healing, and she is currently working on her first book.
Facebook Page: fb.com/emilyjph