It’s almost been four years since my Lennon passed away. Four years is the amount of time that defines the space between us.
Four years and yet, I still feel like I haven’t truly dealt with what it means to have lost him.
Still have yet to fit any mold that some have defined as the stages of grief.
When Lennon was born still, there was shock, there was anger, there was denial and bargaining and even acceptance.
Somehow I’ve dipped my toes in all of the aforementioned stages of grief, and yet a slight shift in the breeze could blow my way, and I will find myself plunged into the confusing torment that can be grief.
On the other hand, I could be dealt this worst hand for a day; I could be elbow deep in discarded toys smeared with some form of what I hope to be chocolate, and I will laugh knowing that this is the beautiful part of motherhood.
The mundane, everyday struggle that I am beyond blessed to take part in each day. With every breath, there is sadness, hope, joy. My every thought tinged with confusion, anger, denial, and peace.
I love the idea that people neatly, meticulously, methodically work through grief. Once all the steps are complete, you find yourself on “the other side.”
The controlling part of me half wishes that I could buy the lie. I could bottle it and drink it in and find myself whole somehow.
The truth is far messier, maybe that’s why it’s not often told outside of groups of people that share in the same pain.
The truth is also, far more beautiful… even in the wreckage.
I see my grief as my love for my boy. The love that I carry with me while I don’t have the blessing of holding him.
My grief is big at times, overwhelming even. Sometimes, it’s so big it dwarfs all other things in my life.
Taking center stage, forcing me to focus on my son and my feelings and my heartache. In these moments I allow myself to be okay with not being okay, I lean (heavily) on those who support and love me, I focus on self-care and on doing things that make me feel like I am honoring my son and his memory.
Sometimes, I can fold my grief up neatly and pack it away and hold it close to my chest.
I smile and laugh and love with the other facets of my life in full view.
In these times I still feel the pain, still feel the love that lives within me as I carry him with me always, but I can also breathe in the sunlight and happiness that belongs in a life well-lived.
My grief, sometimes, is loud and angry and always bubbling at the surface. Demanding attention, demanding I take time and listen to it.
Other times, my grief fills me with a need to do. To share my son’s story, to help anyone who knows a similar pain, to find ways to fill voids that previously went unfilled.
Yet still, sometimes, my grief is quiet and content to be still.
If only for a moment.
No matter what my grief may look like, day by day or even moment to moment, it remains an ever-present facet of my soul. I am a grieving mother to a sweet little boy, I am changed and have been since the day I lived on after him.
I’ve accepted the ever-shifting stages of my individual grief as the price I pay for loving my boy so fully.
Life and death are messy.
Love and grief are too.
There is no way out of grief, no other side after you “complete the stages.” There is only you and your baby(s) and how you choose to carry the pain that came home with you in their stead.
It looks different to everyone; it feels different from one person to the next.
Yet, we all have one thing in common; the love we have for our child(ren).
The kind of love that carries on without 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.