Here I sit at the end of another year. Another year of putting myself out there and sharing pieces of my story in the hopes of helping someone else cope with the pieces of their own. Another year of sitting in front of a keyboard trying to find words to capture the thoughts and feelings still trapped inside. When it comes to writing, I would say it’s another year well spent.
People have asked me if I will ever run out of things to say about my grief. I don’t think so. I will always have something to say. I just may not always want to commit it to writing. But, this year I had a lot to say and I chose to write it down. Then, much to my continued surprise, people take the time to read my thoughts, my ramblings, my frustrations about this life of grief and love and living with it all. My many thanks to those people.
It’s always interesting and somewhat enjoyable to look back on a year’s worth of writing and see what pieces resonated most strongly with my readers. Often, they are the pieces that say the things I don’t yet have the bravery to say out loud. All of my pieces are authentic and honest, but they are the pieces that come from the most vulnerable parts of me. I have found, when I share these pieces, I am paid back with the vulnerability of others. Other parents and families who take the time to let me know that I am not alone. My many thanks to those people.
And so to close out the year, I want to share again the pieces that spoke to so many this year. Thank you again for another year of being here with me. Thank you for letting me share Dorothy and my family with you. Thank you for letting me into your hearts and for being gentle with mine.
“I know I’m not alone in hating the phrase “at least I kept the kids alive,” because I know I’m not the only mom who couldn’t keep her baby alive.
I’m not expecting this phrase to disappear. But I am asking people to understand why I don’t think it’s funny. My inability to laugh is not a judgement on anyone else. It is simply a reflection of the pain I bear as a bereaved mother.”
“You will always be grieving because your child died and you miss them. You love them, always.
No matter how many people refuse to say their name. No matter how many times they change the subject. No matter how many times they tell you to move on before they hurry away.
You are grieving and you will not be stopped.”
“Finally, after a great deal of therapy and late night crying sessions, I realized there was no reason for my daughter’s death. I had not experienced two miscarriages and a stillbirth because I had a lesson to learn.
I was a good person whether my babies lived or died. They didn’t die so that I could prove my worth and my strength.
My babies died because sometimes babies die.”
“Because when a baby dies, it’s not very cute. The photos are heartbreaking, there are no more parties to plan, and sending sympathy cards is not as fun as shopping for onesies. We live in a culture obsessed with imagery and it is really hard to make miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death look Pinterest-worthy.”
“Now, I stood hand poised over the silver handle saying my silent goodbye and wondering if I should wake my husband. Was this something we should do together? Was this the kind of thing that couples share? I did it alone. Not because I wanted to, but because I had never done this before and I never wanted to do this again.
Six months later, I flushed again.”
“I don’t want to hear everything happens for a reason. I don’t want to find the silver lining. I do not want to look for the blessings in disguise.
I want to be sad.
I want to be sad that my baby died and I don’t want anyone to convince me otherwise. I do not need help finding the bright side of losing a baby, because there isn’t one.“
“There are the dads who knew just what to say and the dads who struggled to find the words. The dads who have cried and the dads who have never cried. We must also remember the dads who are afraid to cry for fear of drowning in the tears.
This is for the dads who speak up for us. The dads who stand beside us.
Let us not forget the dads who carry children in their hearts.“
“You ask–Are you excited?
What we say: Yes, I’m excited.
What we want to say: Sure, I’m excited. I’m also terrified and confused and exhausted. It is possible that I’m feeling every feeling that’s ever been felt and it’s happening all at once.
But, I’m going to say I’m excited because the fact that you’re asking me this questions means you don’t totally get it and I just don’t feel like explaining it right now because did I mention, I’m exhausted?”
“The words I write here are for the mothers who have faced the most impossible of decisions–how long do I carry my child? How long do I carry life and death and suffering in my womb?
They are the only heroes here.
To those mothers, I want to say this–You are so damn brave.”
“It wasn’t supposed to be that way. We were supposed to leave with a baby–a living, breathing, adorable baby. A baby to take home and love and raise. One that we would watch grow up into a toddler and a child and a teenager.
But we left with a box.“