Losing Lennon was the single most difficult event I have ever faced, living on without him is the second. While in the hospital recovering, I lived in a little bubble of despair. I didn’t need to explain anything to anyone, didn’t need to quantify my grief.
My world had ended; while I sat in the hospital room, it was relatively easy to pretend the world had stopped with me, had refused to move on after a loss so great. Leaving the hospital was my first foray into the world as the “after” me as opposed to the “before” me.
I remember clutching on to that small cardboard box that was so generously given to me; I remember silently swallowing my sobs as tears streamed down my face as I met the curious eyes of the hospital visitors.
I did my best to focus on my living boys, to listen to their happy voices instead of my buzzing brain that was all consumed by thoughts of my son who left this world before drawing his first breath. I struggled to face the world after loss; I felt so uneasy in the company of others.
In time things started to feel normal again, I learned to carry my grief with me, determined to feel it while also living fully. Sometimes, though, the memories of that day flood back in. It could be a phrase, the smell of baked goods (which made me queasy while pregnant with Lennon), it could be people congratulating me on my busy life with my three boys.
No matter the event, the result is the same: a vivid picture of my son’s still frame on the ultrasound and hearing the words as if they were spoken aloud, “there is no heartbeat.”
I tried to avoid this memory, tried to “focus on the good.” Honestly, I can tell you; there is no good in a child dying.
There is good though, in what you decide to do with your life in the after. Each time I recall these painful moments, I see what I can do to make the present moment better. It’s a struggle to remain positive sometimes.
Sometimes, all I want to do is be angry. Angry that Lennon is gone, angry that his brothers will never know his face, angry that any child has to meet such an end. Then I remember my promise to my son, to live for him and I refuse to let his life be marred with anger.
It’s my desperate hope that no parent has to live through the loss of their child. Unfortunately, one in one hundred and sixty pregnancies end in stillbirth in America.
Remember to be a source of comfort for those who are bereaved; it doesn’t take much to help people see the good in the after.
Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash