Tragedy: a shocking or sad event; disaster
I was in shock the night they told us Rylan had no heartbeat. 428 days later and my mind and heart continue to be twisted over the loss.
Grief: keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret
Sometimes I feel tired, weak, and numb. Full of guilt, regret, sorrow, and despair. I want to cry just to get it out of my system but the well is dry. Other days a single moment will knock the wind out of me, so to speak, and I’m sure I could cry for hours (if I succumb to the sadness). A 24-hour battle of emotions stirs inside of me regularly. Some are warm. Love for my son. Memories of having him moving around in my belly. The urge to do something positive for others in his memory. But, unfortunately, many emotions are darker. When life is simpler, you often don’t need to look hard for that silver lining—mostly you just feel the sunshine. A tragedy in your life is like a natural disaster that shakes up the forecast of life. Surprising, devastating, and forever changing the landscape around you.
Jealousy: feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages
Since Rylan died, I feel plagued by jealously. I hate it. I’m not proud of it. But I know that it is also beyond my control. Everywhere I go I’m forced to interact with people who don’t know a loss like ours. At least it usually feels that way. I know that people like us are out there— I read about them—but in my daily routine it’s easy to forget that they exist. I feel like I’ve been appointed a spectator in my own life. An observer to normal families. The ones where children survive. It hurts so deeply and although I don’t want to be someone else—I like me and I love my family—I just wish that I was able to be the mom that I thought I was going to become last year. I wish that Ry was still alive, so badly. I miss him so much. I wish that Chris and I were sharing parenthood right now. Instead, I sit back and watch (what feels like) everyone around us as they continue living with and growing their families.
I watch our siblings interact with their kids. I listen as they update us on their activities and achievements. I listen to friends and acquaintances talk about the funny things their little ones do, how they make them laugh. I hear stories about other moms and dads, both good and bad. People at work talk about kids camps and vacations. Kids are oohed and ahed steps from my cube almost weekly. Pictures of newborns are shared through work email. At the mall I scrutinize the endless parade of strollers that roll by me at I stand there empty handed. I study the mom leaning over her baby boy at the gas station—my eyes connect with his as she tends to the pump. Everywhere I go I’m in awe of babies and yearn to have my son back. I feel jealous of the moms and dads that have another day with their child/children. Another moment to share at the water cooler tomorrow. One more bedtime story to read tonight. Another chance to hold their hand, hug them, and kiss their face. One more morning routine. Another chance to keep them safe. One more spoken I love you.
I feel like our future with Rylan just slipped through our fingers. It is so difficult knowing that we were so close. That I made it through the pregnancy triathlon just to trip and fall on my face an inch before the finish line. All of those natural, yet naive, expectations waiting on the other side just disappeared like a mirage within seconds. How do you stand up and keep going after that? How do you move forward when you know that time and distance will take you farther away from what was suppose to be? More separated from the baby you love? And how do you try for parenthood in the future in the face of such a tremendous loss? All I can say is that I take one day at a time. I try not to make plans or set too many expectations. I’m scared a lot.
Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery
Parents who’ve lost a child (at any age) who continue to move forward may not feel it, but they have courage—even if they are insecure and stumble along the way. It takes courage to put distance between you and your loss—especially when it feels like you’re adding space between you and your loved one. In some ways we feel like we have no choice but to move forward. I feel like getting up in the morning, getting dressed, doing the things you don’t feel like doing (like going to work, paying bills, being social with others) proves that life isn’t just moving you forward—you are. It takes endurance to work through your grief, especially when you can’t pause time and focus only on your loss (and most of us wish we could). I want you to remember that it takes guts to keep going. Remember to give yourself (and others experiencing a similar loss) a pat on the back sometimes. You deserve it.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to hear me out. Please try to keep your head up—the weather has to be more promising tomorrow. 🙂