Every year on February 7th, I stop breathing.
Or at least that’s what it feels like…
Sometimes it’s a blissful feeling where the world as I know it stops and all I can do is be thankful for getting through the years since Simeon was born. I go over in my head all the ways I could have stopped living and revel in the fact that I made it.
I think about how cute he was and how he gives me sweet and funny signs often to show me that he’s still present in my life. It’s a nice feeling.
On the other hand, some years, it’s a feeling of anxiety, hurt, fear, and nightmares. All I can feel are the panic attacks I felt at every contraction in anticipation for the birth of my stillborn son.
Eight years ago, around this time, I was telling the nurses I couldn’t breathe. I was dying, and no one believed me.
Some days I relive that. There are days when I can’t smile or laugh, and as soon as I open my eyes from my slumber, tears fall out.
Today I remember that they found nothing wrong, that neither of us was sick and how the doctor stared in awe at how strong and beautiful he was.
Today in my head, I keep hearing them tell me, “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.” I can see my midwife running down the hospital hallway saying, “How did this happen?” before she hugged me.
Today… I’m looking at my phone feeling the need to turn it off as I did eight years ago, for months, because I was embarrassed to tell people I couldn’t deliver a living child.
February 7th isn’t ever really a great day; it’s just always one of those euphoric years.
So what happens when Feb 7th comes, and all I can feel is pain and grief?
I let myself feel all of these emotions while I push through the day.
I could stay in bed and call out of work because I’m afraid to let people see me cry.
I could start planning my exit strategy from this life because honestly, I can see where that feeling stems from.
Instead, I choose to be aware, feel, live, and be transparent. I’m not going to push myself in a deep depression by intentionally finding ways to stay sad, but I’m not going to cut my yearly grieving process short either.
I’m going to ride out the day and watch where God takes it. I’ll look at pictures; I’ll read stories, I’ll write in my journal all while possibly never saying a word to anyone.
I’ll be selfish today and focus on what I need to heal.
I think sometimes people assume that because I’m vocal about Simeon and celebrate him loudly, that I don’t get sad. Some people tell me that they don’t think they will ever be able to heal as I did.
I try to explain that I’m not done healing or grieving. It’s a life long process, and all I do is let it take its course.
I don’t rush or halt because of what others might say.
And quite frankly, the people that think a few months of crying is “enough” are crazy in my book.
I’m sure I will feel these feelings for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with that. As long as I have at least one person to support me, some good memories made to think about during hard times and my “healing toolbox” of whatever makes me better… I will be just fine.
So when you aren’t sure if you should be “over it” by now or not… know that YOU should do whatever your heart and God are telling you to do.
You should make memories; you should celebrate birthdays, you should honor birth and loss dates.
You should live like you never want to forget that your child was yours.
So on days like I have today, you have something to pull you out of the darkness gently.