Walking through a beautiful open house on a sunshiny Sunday afternoon – coincidentally, we lost our third son on a Sunday. The real estate agent noticed my pride of boys and made polite conversation about another family who had come through with four boys.
I added to the conversation in the only way I knew how – honestly.
“Yeah, we have four boys too. This house would be perfect for kids to run free.”
“Oh, four? I must have missed one.” She replied.
“Yes, four boys. We lost one of our sons.”
To which she started to laugh.
“Oh, right… you lost one!”
My husband got sheepish and interjected,
“Yeah, we lost one of our boys, he died.”
I gathered my boys together and admired the woodwork one last time as my husband made his way quietly to the car. As soon as I closed my car door and buckled in, my husband looked at me with pain in his eyes and said,
“That’s why I always say three.”
I’d found the humor in the miscommunication, I saw no malice in the mix-up and understood how that could very well have been set up as a joke.
My husband though heard the interaction and felt uncomfortable, uneasy, wishing I had just said three.
Sean, my husband, and I have never grieved in unison. I feel EVERYTHING then, I express EVERYTHING.
I avoid driving by the funeral home that cremated our son.
I never shy away from an opportunity to talk or write about my stillborn son.
When something reminds me of him or our time in the hospital as we learned his fate, I cry without abandon.
Every time he enters my mind, I make an effort to channel the feeling into something productive.
I miss him and I still have open wounds (figuratively speaking) from losing him that I feel compelled to use as a means to share his memory to lessen the feeling of isolation.
My husband feels EVERYTHING, he then has no desire to share his pain.
His discomfort in being open doesn’t make his struggle less than mine, it does the opposite in fact.
He only comes to me when the grief has overwhelmed him, he only shares with me when he no longer can contain the pain himself.
Sean misses our son, just as I do. My husband held our son, just as I did.
We both have lived the same horrible reality of loss and yet we struggle to grieve together.
He supports me, I feel as if I cannot support him.
I hear myself asking him, probing him with questions that haunt me:
“Do you think he felt any pain? Do you think I failed to comfort him as he left us? Will ever live our lives as we did before we lost him? Am I doing a good job discussing this with our living kids?”
These questions feel necessary to me but they hurt my husband.
He tells me calmly the answers to the questions, then promptly moves on. He never stays here.
He needs to feel the loss of his son quietly; he needs to remember him but not show it, he needs to know it’s okay to cry maybe not every time his son asks him, “If I die, will I go be with Lennon?”
I know that he grieves with me, I just wish I didn’t feel like I can do very little to support him quietly.
There always lingers a concern that my being vocal imposes on his desire for quiet grief.
Even with these issues my husband and I have somehow come together in grief. We don’t do things the same but we both have a desire to ensure the other person’s comfort over their own.
Both of us understand that our hearts need different things to heal and that’s okay.
Knowing is half the battle.
When we first lost Lennon, I was afraid to sleep alone. The nightmares that haunted me left me feeling as if a single moment alone was too much.
In the beginning, my husband slept on the couch, away from me. I was consumed. All my feelings suffocated him.
He wanted to be there for me, I wanted to be there for him but the simple fact was, we could not fix this.
We could not end the other’s pain and supporting one another with our opposing needs of solitude and connection making us clash.
It was not long though, that he waded the deep waters of my feelings, my concerns, my confusion in what had even happened. As he took steps toward me, I took steps toward him.
We probably have yet to meet in the middle.
There are moments when I take from him more than he can give, there are moments he locks himself away and refuses to let me in but we love each other, so we give what we can and know that somehow, we will overcome.
My husband and I are not a perfect road map, the keys to our success in staying together in our separate ways of grieving may not work for all.
There is one thing that is true however, as long as there is love between you, there will be a way to navigate all the trials that come hand in hand with pregnancy and child loss.
When our son died, my husband and I had a conversation. He looked at me and said that he always knew he would be with me forever but that if we could make it through losing our son, our marriage could survive anything.
Although it is not always smooth sailing, there is no one else who understands what losing Lennon feels like.
He is my teammate, my confidant and although it seems impossible at times, we somehow always find each other in the end.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.