Once again, too much time has passed since I have found myself both the time and the inclination to sit down and write here. We have been busy with life...work, raising our beautiful son, enjoying our family. Very recently, I had an experience that once again reminded me that our world without Faith never really fades. Though we are so grateful for J., I can't ever really "get over it," or forget that he is not our first. Faith was our first born.
Just two weeks ago, as I walked my class into lunch, a friend walked up to me, phone in hand, and simply said, "You have to read this." I took it from her, prepared for a message, but not for the words I saw.
"With the heaviest of hearts...we lost our littlest granddaughter to what appears to be a case of SIDS."
As I stood in front of my class, gasping, my mouth covered, my eyes welling with tears, I found only the words, "Oh my God," to express my broken heart and weary soul. I dropped my students off, walked out of the cafeteria, and disintegrated into tears. I called my husband, told him, continuing to cry and wipe away the tears that wouldn't stop. I finally managed to pull myself together long enough to eat my lunch and finish my work day.
The following weekend, we attended the visitation for this beautiful little angel that left our world too soon. I hugged her grandmother, my friend for 15 years; we talked and cried and she said,"I know you know." I proceeded through the line to this little angel's mother, also my friend, and father, all the while putting some blinders on so I could manage my own feelings and try to offer some measure of support to the family. Even when I knew there was none that could really be.
And that's the secret.
You never. stop. grieving. When you have buried your child, you just never stop. You move forward; you find peace (hopefully); you manage. Eventually, you find a way to just keep living life and finding joy in the little things of life. There are other secrets...
Sometimes you yell at your husband to wear the bike helmet because you just can't handle something happening to him, too.
Sometimes you lay awake to watch your baby sleep, just because you can.
Sometimes the anxiety of loss is so crushing you're not sure how you can manage it. But you do.
Sometimes you cut your next baby's food into impossibly tiny pieces because you're so afraid he might choke.
Sometimes you act like a paranoid crazy person, afraid of the littlest things. Because paranoia is for those people who've never been a statistic. When you're the statistic, all bets are off. Paranoia becomes your best friend - and worst enemy. And most time consuming hobby, as you attempt to keep it at bay.
Sometimes you sleep a little later, snuggling that cozy little boy because you know that before you can blink, he'll be too big to want to snuggle back.
Sometimes when you think you're mostly okay, your world will be invaded by the unfair and heartbreaking loss suffered by a friend. And then your world will be turned upside down again, your thoughts consumed by the ache and agony of a family, an ache you know all too well.
But here I sit, writing. Struggling for words that might help someone. So while the life of a grieving mother is one I don't wish on anyone, I do wish for my friend for her to know something life changing.
You. Will. Survive.
You will cry. You will yell and be angry. Your chest will ache and you will be sure that your heart is broken. But you will - in time - survive. One day, it won't hurt to breathe. One day, you will make it through the entire day without crying. One day, laughing won't make you simultaneously make you feel like you're losing your mind.
And one more thing...you will never forget her. You will carry her in your heart and soul every day for the rest of the days you walk this Earth. Her image will be your greatest strength, even when it is your greatest heartbreak. And you will find peace.
For all the mothers - and fathers - out there, suffering through an unimaginable loss today. Please know that you will not always feel the way you do today. Your grief will always be with you, but as impossible as it seems, it will change and you will find a way to put it where it needs to be so that you once again find joy and happiness. Ignore the stupidity of people...even me, if this is too much right now. Just hug each other, wrap yourselves in a bubble, and be gentle with yourselves. You are not alone.
And one day, you might just have a few secrets of your own to share.
With all my love,