Post by Still Standing Contributor Megan Skaggs
For the past five years, October 15 has held a very special place in my heart. My son died on August 29, 2009 and that October was the first time I had ever heard of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
I had just returned to work and was still incredibly broken. October was probably one of the worst months that first year after MJ died.
I went and got votive candles engraved with my son’s name, birth date, and death date. It was the first time I bought something for him after his death. That evening my husband and I lit those candles and cried.
We’ve since been able to view October 15 as an MJ Day in our house. We have three of them each year. The day he died, October 15, and March 31, which is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day. CDH is the birth defect he was born with and what caused his death.
His birthday is not an MJ Day because he has a twin brother that was born perfectly healthy. We’ve made the decision that their birthday is Will’s day. His brother needs to be celebrated for the joy that he is, and MJ has his very own special days.
MJ Days mean so much to my husband and me. We’ll never get to see him start his first day at kindergarten, play t-ball, graduate from high school, or get married. He’ll never have anything other than an MJ Day.
Through the years we’ve had so much support from so many people when it comes to remembering our son. But we’ve also had some incredible lows. The people who you think would support you the most seem to end up hurting you the most.
The memories of his last day on Earth haunt me. I’ve spent five years second-guessing and replaying every moment in my head. I think as parents we are the only ones who do that.
While family and friends may not forget, they also don’t remember daily. They don’t understand how everything is tainted with loss. They can’t comprehend the balance of death and life.
It’s taken time and a lot of tears, but I think we’ve finally been able to express what our MJ Days mean to us. They mean that we aren’t the only ones who remember. They mean that he is thought of and missed.
I often look at my children and wonder what it would be like with him alive. I never know if I’m the only one who thinks that, other than my husband.
Today I also think about the baby my husband and I lost to miscarriage. I am quite sure we are the only ones who remember that baby. I became pregnant with our daughter very quickly after an emergency D&C.
I was five months pregnant when that baby would have been born. I am sure most people view that pregnancy as a slight ‘bump in the road’ on the way to a healthy pregnancy.
I can guarantee you that it did not feel that way to me.
We saw no heartbeat 18 months after our son died and after almost a year of fertility treatments. When that baby died it was my last thread of hope crashing down. I was convinced that Will was our one, healthy ‘fluke’ and that I was never supposed to have been a mother. The depression I felt in those months following that baby’s death was awful.
My husband convinced me to try for three more months of fertility treatments hoping to have a healthy baby. Why three months? Because that was all the money we had in the bank.
In what I can only describe as irony we became pregnant our first attempt after waiting a mandatory three months.
I found out I was pregnant in April, on Friday the 13th, and then nine months later our daughter was born in January, also on Friday the 13th.
I admit that baby is not on my mind as much as my son. But I still wonder.
And I am so thankful that a day like this exists. A day that I can speak my mind and tell my story. I am the type of person that needs to get it all out, which is probably why I enjoy writing for Still Standing so much.
I know that there are so many mothers remembering in silence today, but always remembered. While I don’t grieve in silence, I know the babies who have gone too soon are deeply missed today and always for those with silent tears.